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Full text of "Researches on the effects of bloodletting in some inflammatory diseases, and on the influence of tartarized antimony and vesication in pneumonitis"

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Physician of the Hospital la Pitie, perpetual President of the Medical Society of Observation, Member of 

the Royal Academy of Medicine of Paris, Corresponding Member of the Medical Society of 

Marseilles, of the Imperial Medico-Chirurgical Society of St. Petersburg and of 

the Medical Society of Edinburgh ; Member of the Legion of Honor. 




Physician of the Massachusetts General Hospital. 



Entered according to the act of Congress in the year 1835, 

in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 



Printers, Washington Street. 




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Researches on the effects of bloodletting in some in- 
flammatory diseases ..... 


Effect of bloodletting in pneumonitis . . . 


Effect of bloodletting in erysipelas of the face 


Effect of bloodletting in angina tonsillaris 




New facts relative to the effects of bloodletting in 
acute diseases 




Facts relative to the treatment of pneumonitis. 

1 . Effects of Bloodletting. 

2. Effects of Tartarized Antimony. 

3. Effects of Vesication compared with those 

of Antimony 25 


Effect of bloodletting in erysipelas of the face . 53 


Examination of the method followed in the preceding 
chapters, to determine the therapeutic effects of 
bloodletting and antimony .... 55 

Remarks on a few works upon bloodletting . 70 



Errata. On p. 150, for Pulv. Colchic, rad. gas. 

Potass, et Sodse Tartrat. gss. 
rea d Pulv. Colchic, rad. gss. 

Potass, et Sodee Tartrat. 311.88. 

oeen my part to aaa to it a prelace and an ap- 

It is the latest of Mr. Louis's publications, or 
the latest which has reached us. It differs from 
his other works ; for they related principally to 
the pathology, to the diagnosis and the interpre- 
tation of symptoms, in the diseases of which they 
treated. This relates to therapeutics, and prin- 
cipally to one of the most interesting questions 
in this branch of medical science. If any thing 
may be regarded as settled in the treatment of 
diseases, it is that bloodletting is useful in the 
class of diseases called inflammatory ; and es- 
pecially in inflammations of the thoracic viscera. 
To the general opinion, or belief on this subject, 


M. Louis gives support by his observations ; but 
the result of these observations is that the ben- 
efits derived from bleeding in the diseases, which 
he has here examined, are not so great and 
striking, as they have been represented by many 
teachers. If the same results should be ob- 
tained by others, after making observations as 
rigorous as those of M. Louis, many of us will 
be compelled to modify our former opinions. 
But whatever may be the conclusions, in which 
we may ultimately rest, this work must be re- 
garded as highly valuable. The author does not 
pretend that the questions, here discussed, are 
decided for ever. He makes a valuable contri- 
bution to the evidence, on which they must be 
decided ; he points out the mode, in which this 
evidence should be collected, and in which its 
materials should be analyzed ; and, seeking 
truth only, he calls on others to adduce facts, 
which, being gathered from various quarters, 
may show us, with a good degree of exactness, 
the precise value of the remedy in question. 

It should be kept in mind, however, that our 
labors in this cause are not to be performed 
carelessly. It is in proportion as our observa- 


tions are made with exactness and discrimina- 
tion, that they will satisfy our own minds ; and 
in proportion to the evidence of our care and ac- 
curacy that we can satisfy others. First, we 
must be careful as to our diagnosis ; and second, 
we must be accurate as to the period of disease ; 
third, we must be minute in noting the particu- 
lars, in which amendment is produced ; and 
fourth, we must be precise in stating the extent 
and the manner, in which the remedy is em- 

To many of our readers M. Louis is not yet 
known. It would be sufficient to refer them to 
the pages of the work, which follows, for evi- 
dence of his fitness for the task he has under- 
taken. But, as it may be gratifying to many per- 
sons to know more of him, and of the method, 
which he has pursued in the study of medicine, 
I shall here copy a note respecting him, which I 
have printed in another work. 

"P. Ch. A. Louis, physician of the Hospital 
de la Pitie, is a man, whose labors and whose 
writings must become more and more known for 
ages. I should deem it service enough to my 
brethren in this country, if I could induce them, 


one and all, to read and study the works of this 
great pathologist. M. Louis is the founder of 
the numerical system, as it has been denomi- 
nated, in respect to the science of medicine. It 
is the object of this note to state what that sys- 
tem is, and briefly to advert to the successful 
application of it by its founder. 

" How many will be ready to turn aside, when 
they hear of a new system. Has not system 
followed system, it will be asked, ever since 
the days of the four humors. Facts, it will 
be added, observations, exact observations are 
wanting, not systems, in order to carry forward 
the science of medicine. Be it so; it is the last 
point, on which I would disagree with my rea- 
der. If however that reader has not had much 
experience on the subject, he may not be aware 
of the difficulty of making good observations, as 
regards both pathology and therapeutics, and of 
the caution which is requisite in making deduc- 
tions. These difficulties should not deter us 
from adopting the right course; they should 
only make us study to find out what this course 
is. M. Louis certainly will not direct us to 
turn from observation to speculation. 


""But to remove the objection, let me say at 
once that M. Louis has not brought forward a 
new system of medicine ; he has only proposed 
and pursued a new method in prosecuting the 
study of medicine. This is nothing else than 
the method of induction, the method of Bacon, 
so much vaunted and yet so little regarded. 
But, if so, where is the novelty? If any one, 
after patiently studying and practising the me- 
thod proposed by M. Louis, denies the novelty 
of it, 1 will not dispute with him a moment. 
Perhaps he will then agree with me that it is a 
novelty to pursue the method of Bacon thor- 
oughly and truly in the study of medicine ; 
though it is not new to talk of it and to laud it. 

" A little history of one part of M. Louis's life 
will throw some light on this subject. This 
gentleman went abroad, and I believe had some 
appointment in Russia, after he had gone through 
the usual course of professional education. Re- 
turning to France at the age of thirty-two, he 
was about to engage in private practice. He 
was then led to examine anew the state of the 
science of medicine, and was dissatisfied with it. 
He now decided to abandon the thoughts of prac- 

tice for a time, and to devote himself to observa- 
tion ; that is, to the study of disease as it actu- 
ally presents itself. With this view he went 
into the hospital la Charite in Paris, and fol- 
lowed the practice of M. Chomel, now a physi- 
cian at the Hotel Dieu and Professor of Clinical 
medicine, and highly esteemed as an author. 
M. Louis passed nearly seven years in studying 
medicine in this way. The first part of this 
time he was learning how to make observations. 
When he thought he had attained this art, he 
threw away, as I have understood, the notes he 
had already collected, and began anew to accu- 
mulate exact observations of the phenomena 
presented by the sick and of those derived from 
an examination after death in the fatal cases. In 
this course of observations he did not make a 
selection of cases, but took them as they were 
presented, indiscriminately. He was not in a 
hurry to make deductions from his cases, satis- 
fied that he was gathering the materials, from 
which truth must ultimately be elicited. He 
was only careful that his observations should be 
correct, and had not any general principles, or 
doctrines, for which he sought support, or con- 


" To estimate the value of his observations, it 
is necessary to understand the plan, on which 
he collected them. First, then, he ascertained 
when the patient under his examination began 
to be diseased. Not satisfied with vague an- 
swers, he went back to the period, when the 
patient enjoyed his usual health; and he also 
endeavored to learn whether that usual health 
had been firm, or in any respect infirm. He 
noted also the age, occupation, residence, and 
manner of living of the patient ; likewise any 
accidents which had occurred, and which might 
have influenced the disease then affecting him. 
He ascertained also, as much as possible, the 
diseases which had occurred in the family of his 
patient. Secondly, he inquired into the present 
disease, ascertaining not only what symptoms 
had marked its commencement, but those which 
had been subsequently developed and the order 
of their occurrence ; and recording those, which 
might not seem to be connected with the princi- 
pal disease, as well as those which were so 
connected ; also, measuring the degree or vio- 
lence of each symptom, with as much accuracy 
as the case would admit. Thirdly, he noted 


the actual phenomena present at his examina- 
tion, depending for this not only on the state- 
ment of the patient, but on his own senses, his 
eyes, his ears and his hands. Under this and 
the preceding head he was not satisfied with 
noting the functions, in which the patient com- 
plained of disorder, but examined carefully as to 
all the functions, recording their state as being 
healthy or otherwise, and even noticing the ab- 
sence of symptoms, which might bear on the di- 
agnosis. Thus all secondary diseases, and 
those, which accidentally co-existed with the 
principal malady, were brought under his view. 
Fourthly, he continued to watch his patient from 
day to day, carefully recording all the changes, 
which occurred in him till his restoration to 
health, or his decease. Fifthly, in the fatal 
cases he exercised the same scrupulous care in 
examining the dead, as he had in regard to the 
living subject. Prepared by a minute acquaint- 
ance with anatomy, and familiar with the chan- 
ges wrought by disease, he looked not only at 
the parts where the principal disorder was man- 
ifested, but at all the organs. His notes did not 
state opinions, but facts. He recorded in regard 


to each part, which was not quite healthy in its 
appearance, the changes in color, consistence, 
firmness, thickness, &c. ; not contenting himself 
with saying that a part was inflamed, or was 
cancerous, or with the use of any general, but 
indefinite terms. 

"Without presuming that I have described in 
the most exact manner the course pursued by 
M. Louis, I have said enough to make his plan 
intelligible to men of sagacity. Others have 
taken down cases in like manner. In the first 
volume of the " Transactions of a Society for the 
improvement of Medical and Chirurgical know- 
ledge," published 1793, there is a paper by Dr. 
George Fordyce, entitled, "an attempt to im- 
prove the evidence of medicine." In this paper 
Dr. Fordyce recommends the careful collection 
of cases, as the only foundation for the improve- 
ment which he wished to see. Dr. Fordyce goes 
into many details, and gives two cases in a tabu- 
lar form by way of illustration, and states that 
he has many cases collected upon this plan. In 
his plan some matters are insisted upon more 
than by M. Louis perhaps ; others less. But Dr. 
Fordyce does not insist upon the examination 


after death, a most important part of the plan 
adopted by M. Louis. If however the attempt 
proposed had been followed by vigorous efforts, 
most important benefits would have resulted 
from it. Many no doubt thought of doing it. I 
myself thought seriously of it more than thirty 
years ago, and had blanks printed for my cases, 
according to the plan of Fordyce. But the dif- 
ficulties attending the plan in private practice 
discouraged me too soon. So far as I have 
known, M. Louis is the only physician who has 
devoted himself for years together, at a mature 
age and after a sufficient education, to simple 
observation, without the distraction of medical 
practice, and without having any share in the 
treatment of the cases under his observation. 

" It was only when he had accumulated a great 
mass of cases, that M. Louis began to deduce 
from them any general principles. He then ar- 
ranged the facts he had collected in a tabular 
form, so as to facilitate a comparison of them. 
How much labor this required will be in some 
measure conceived, when I state that, while go- 
ing through one class of his observations, those, 
I believe, which relate to acute diseases, he re- 


tired to a distance from Paris and occupied ten 
months in making out his tables. This state- 
ment is, I believe, substantially, if not precisely 

"Let the reader conceive of these tables drawn 
out with accuracy, having columns devoted, with 
proper discrimination, to each function and to its 
various derangements, as manifested during life, 
and to each organ and its lesions as ascertained 
after death ; let him then go to these tables and 
inquire, under what circumstances certain signs 
of disease arise, and with what pathological 
changes in the dead body they are found to cor- 
respond ; let him ask under what circumstances 
certain morbid changes of structure occur, and 
with what symptoms they are found to be con- 
nected ; he may find the answers and he may 
obtain them numerically. That is, he may learn 
in how many cases out of a hundred of any par- 
ticular disease he will find a certain derange- 
ment of a particular function, or a certain change 
in structure of a particular organ ; and he may 
also learn how often the same things may be 
noticed in other diseases, with which that under 
consideration may be compared. For instance, 


does he ask how often does it happen that dys- 
phagia occurs in typhus fever? M. Louis re- 
plies from his tables that in the fatal cases of 
typhus, which he had examined when his work 
on this subject was written, rather more than 
one in five had this symptom. Is it then asked 
whether this symptom was found to be con- 
nected with any particular organic lesion, M. 
Louis says that in four out of five of these cases 
there were ulcers in the pharynx or oesophagus, 
or other change of structure in the organs con- 
cerned in deglutition. Thus it was shown, that 
it has been for want of examination that we 
have so often attributed this symptom to weak- 
ness. If the same questions are asked in respect 
to other acute diseases, the answer furnished by 
M. Louis is, that in the acute diseases, of which 
he had accurate notes, exclusive of typhus, 
severe dysphagia did not exist ; and that ulcers 
were also wanting in the pharynx, &c. ; though 
slight organic affections were found in a very 
small proportion of those cases. 

" Or, again, is it asked, how often the epiglot- 
tis, larynx and trachea are ulcerated in pulmonary 
consumption? M. Louis replies that the trachea 


exhibits ulcerations in nearly one third of the 
subjects of this disease ; the larynx in a little 
more, and the epiglottis in a little less than a 
fifth of those subjects. Meanwhile, in other 
chronic diseases, M. Louis had found only one 
case, in which these parts were ulcerated, while 
the lungs were not tuberculous. The symptoms, 
by which the ulceration of the epiglottis was 
marked, were a fixed pain in the upper part of 
the thyroid cartilage, or just above it, and a dif- 
ficulty of deglutition, such that the drinks are 
sometimes thrown out by the nose. The symp- 
toms attending the other lesions are much less 
distinct, and the statement of them would lead 
to details not necessary in this place. 

" The instances here taken are the first which 
came to hand, on opening M. Louis's publica- 
tions; but in like manner we may find an an- 
swer to most of the questions, which would arise 
in reference to the subjects discussed. 

" The experience of one man is necessarily 
limited, and more extensive researches may give 
results different from those at which M. Louis 
has arrived. But I am disposed to think that 
the difference will not be material in many 


instances. His observations were made only in 
the hospitals of Paris. Other observations, made 
in different climates and among persons of dif- 
ferent habits, will probably discover differences 
of some kind, and perhaps some which are mate- 
rial. But in most respects, since the works of 
M. Louis have been known to me, I have found 
his observations confirmed by my experience 
here ; and indeed in many respects they accord 
with my own previous observations, being, how- 
ever, more precise than mine had been. 

" But there are various points in pathology, on 
which M. Louis has taught us what we did not 
know before. For instance, he has given us 
certain signs, by which we may recognise peri- 
carditis, in a large proportion of the cases in 
which it occurs. He has shown that tubercles 
are always found in the lungs, if they are found 
in any other part of the body ; or that the ex- 
ceptions are so rare as not to be practically im- 
portant. He has shown that chronic peritonitis 
is found only in tuberculous subjects. Others 
had suspected that the fever, now commonly 
called typhus, was dependent on inflammation 
of the mucous membrane of the stomach and 


bowels ; and it had been shown that in certain 
seasons the elliptical patches, called Peyer's 
glands, were the seat of inflammation, and com- 
monly of ulceration, &,c. M. Louis has shown 
that a morbid alteration of these glands is con- 
stant in typhus; constituting, as he terms it, the 
anatomical character of that disease. He has like- 
wise pointed out the other anatomical changes, 
which belong to, and those which often attend 
the same disease; as well as some symptoms 
which had been overlooked, or not duly re- 
garded by others. At present I can say that 
his observations, in regard to typhus, have been 
confirmed by all that I have been able to learn 
respecting it in this country, since his observa- 
tions have been known to me. 

" I am not, however, engaged in reviewing 
the works of M. Louis. I have not guarded 
myself in all points in stating his observations. 
I wish to induce others to read his books, and 
they will then see the prudent caution, with 
which he offers all general remarks, and the 
scrupulous care which he exercises in making 
his deductions. He studies nature with a full 
faith in the, uniformity of her laws, and in the 


certainty that truth may be ascertained by dili- 
gent labor. It is truth only he loves ; not anx- 
ious to build up a system, nor pretending to 
explain every thing, he says to his pupils, such 
and such have been my observations; you can 
observe as well as I, if you will study the art of 
observation, and if you will come to it with an 
honest mind, and be faithful in noting all which 
you discover, and not merely the things which 
are interesting at the moment, or those which 
support a favorite dogma; I state to you the 
laws of nature as they appear to me ; if true, 
your observations will confirm them; if not 
true, they will refute them ; I shall be content 
if only the truth be ascertained. 

"I wish to add that M. Louis has inspired a 
gallant band with his spirit. They have com- 
bined to form the Society of Medical Observa- 
tion at Paris ; M. Louis is their President and 
MM. Chomel and Andral are the Vice-Presi- 
dents. They meet to report their observations 
and to be corrected by each other and by their 
president, when their observations are inaccu- 
rate or deficient, or when their inferences are 
broader than their premises. The members are 


selected without reference to their country; 
they are from different nations ; they are scat- 
tered, and will in succession be scattered over 
the world ; and all, who carry with them the 
true spirit, must contribute to the advancement 
of real science. Men who devote themselves 
thoroughly to labor, in whatever department, 
must be felt and known in society. Let the 
members of this society go on and throw the 
fruits of their labor into a common stock, and 
they must all of them be enriched, and all 
around them be enriched at the same time. 

" To the remarks, perhaps too desultory, 
which I have given in this article, I am desirous 
to add two more. 

" The two great works of M. Louis, which 
have yet been published, are that on phthisis 
and that on typhus. My first remark is, that 
the information given in these works is much 
less limited, than their titles would indicate. In 
the first, other chronic diseases are compared 
with phthisis in respect to its symptoms and to 
organic lesions; and thus it may be regarded 
as treating, to a certain extent, of chronic dis- 
eases, and embraces a vast deal of information 


in respect to them. In the second, acute dis- 
eases are compared with typhus, with the like 

<c My second remark is, that the general re- 
sults, to which M. Louis has attained by his 
mode of studying diseases, have been greater, 
that is, more numerous and more important, 
than might have been anticipated in so short a 
time. I think he could hardly have hoped for 
such abundant fruits of his labors, great as they 
were ; diligently and faithfully as they were pur- 
sued. In this there is much encouragement. 
Already in his hands medicine, at least what re- 
gards the signs of diseases and the pathological 
states on which they depend, begins to assume 
the form of an exact science. In moulding his 
materials indeed, he has availed himself of the 
useful instructions which have been furnished 
by others, on whom he could depend. This is 
especially true in respect to the discoveries of 
the illustrious Laennec, to whose merits he ren- 
ders ample justice. His own merit however is 
peculiar. While all were ready to acknowledge, 
that it is only by a careful observation of nature 
we can ascertain her laws, he only has had the 


boldness and the vigor to undertake and carry 
through a series of full and exact observations, 
without prejudice, and with a determination to 
report his discoveries fairly and exactly, not 
magnifying, nor diminishing the evidence in any 
case to make it quadrate with principles pre- 
viously imagined. One, who knew him inti- 
mately, bore this testimony of him, that he 
would not be tempted to entertain an hypothesis 
in any case, saying that it had almost uniformly 
happened that rigorous observation had refuted 
the hypotheses he had formed. 

" I venerate M. Louis greatly. But it is not 
with the vain hope, nor even the desire to pro- 
mote his fame by my feeble commendations, that 
I have written this note. I regard it as certain 
that his fame, and what he will regard much 
more, the truths which he has discovered, will 
be extended and will live for ages. My sole ex- 
pectation is to lead some, who might otherwise 
be ignorant of them, among my brethren of the 
present day, to study works which I esteem as 
among the most valuable certainly, if not the 
most valuable, which any age has furnished us in 
regard to medicine. Unlike the systems, which 


are always spoken of in the history of medicine, 
as successively rising with splendor and falling 
into oblivion, the principles published by the 
founder of the numerical system are not an arti- 
ficial network, where the cutting of one thread 
may cause the whole to drop away ; these prin- 
ciples may be added to, they may be enlarged, 
limited and modified, and yet the system may be 
maintained; and it will still derive its support 
from the first labors devoted to its erection as 
much as from the last. If, for instance, M. 
Louis has observed a certain symptom, such as 
the enlargement in the region of the spleen, to 
be present in forty-five out of fifty cases of ty- 
phus; the exceptions will be ten per cent. 
Should subsequent observers find, that in a hun- 
dred and fifty cases there have been twenty ex- 
ceptions, it will then appear that these in the 
two hundred amount to twelve and a half per 
cent. As far as I know, there are very few of 
M. Louis's numerical inferences, which have 
hitherto required to be modified so much as in 
the instance here supposed, since the publication 
of his great works ; although ten years have now 
elapsed since that on phthisis, and six years since 


that on typhus was published ; and although he 
himself has continued, during this period, to de- 
vote a great portion of his time to the collection 
of new observations. Were it otherwise, how- 
ever, it would be glory enough for one man to 
have led the way into the true path, and to have 
inspired others with the courage to follow him. 
I repeat the idea ; it is the spirit of bold and 
hardy enterprise, which is the glory of M. Louis. 
"I must add a few remarks on another point. 
It is objected by some to the labors of M. Louis, 
and of others of the French pathologists, that 
they labor indeed with ardor on the subject of 
diagnosis, that they study with the zeal of ento- 
mologists to discriminate minute changes of 
structure in the various textures of the human 
body, but that they. do nothing to advance the 
proper business of the physician, the art of heal- 
ing. Their therapeutics are decried, as showing 
an ignorance of what has been thought certain in 
England and in this country ; and they them- 
selves are regarded even as indifferent to this 
branch of science. Can this objection need a 
reply? I have long been satisfied, for thirty 
years I have been satisfied, that the physicians 



of Paris were laying the firmest foundation for 
the science of therapeutics, by studying the 
natural history of diseases ; and by thus giving 
us rules for diagnosis and prognosis. The course 
they have pursued has not always been the most 
satisfactory, and one at least among them has 
gone over to the dogmatic philosophers, though 
he has tried to disguise his desertion of the true 
cause. But the course they have pursued has 
led honest spirits to be more and more exact in 
their observations, until now, when one has 
arisen, who has vigorously undertaken all the 
toils, to which the method previously adopted 
would rightly lead them. Let them proceed in 
the same spirit, aided, but without any spirit of 
rivalry, by the pathologists of other countries ; 
let us all learn what may be looked for, when 
art does not interfere in the diseases of the hu- 
man body ; that is, let us study the rules of prog- 
nosis, which are only inferences from the natural 
history of diseases ; then we shall be prepared to 
study therapeutics. Let M. Louis, or men like 
him, test the effect of remedies in the same spirit, 
with which he has pursued his pathological re- 
searches. Having determined the average du- 


ration, fatality, &c., of typhus, for example, by 
an observation of a sufficient number of cases 
through a series of years, such cases not having 
been actively treated, let him then employ in 
the same disease the different remedies which 
have been thought useful. One physician extols 
the advantages of bleeding ; another commends 
antimonials employed on the first days of the dis- 
ease, in emetic doses, and for a few days after- 
wards in doses just short of nauseating ; another 
contends that cinchona is the best antidote to the 
deadly tendencies of this malady. Let each 
mode of treatment have its fair trial ; and let the 
results be compared with each other, and with 
similar cases, treated at the same time upon the 
expectant method. 

" This is substantially the mode in which ques- 
tions in therapeutics are beginning to be treated 
in Paris. So, no doubt, they have been treated 
elsewhere. But it is in proportion as we arrive 
at precision, in respect to the natural history of 
diseases, that this mode will be pursued with the 
greatest advantage. It is because we are ap- 
proaching to that precision that I think it scarcely 
rash to predict, that in fifty years the art of heal- 


ing will be grounded on many exact rules, which 
we and our predecessors have not known. 
These rules will not be brought forward as de- 
rived from grand principles of physiology, or pa- 
thology ; they must be deduced from the aggre- 
gate of careful, faithful observations of individual 
facts, made by men of enlightened minds. A 
love of truth, an unflinching love of truth is the 
first requisite in those, who engage in this holy 

It will be seen that in this note I anticipated 
that great advantages would be obtained by M. 
Louis and his disciples, whenever they should 
turn their attention to the treatment of diseases. 
I did not then know, nor did I suspect, that 
while I was writing that note, M. Louis was al- 
ready engaged in his first work expressly on the- 
rapeutics. The few pages indeed, which consti- 
tute the first chaptei of this work, had already 
been published by him, and they had not escaped 
my notice. But it will be plain that, when 
alone, these pages could not make so deep an 
impression, as does the whole work here pre- 



F.R.S. L. and E., etc. 


I PUBLISHED in the month of November, 
1828, in the Archives Generates de Medecine, a 
memoir on the effects of bloodletting in some in- 
flammatory diseases. This memoir was very 
differently received. Some, in consequence of 
prejudices, difficult of explanation, declared that 
I rejected bloodletting in the treatment of cases 
of inflammation, although I show the necessity 
of having recourse to it, in severe cases, for two 
cogent reasons. Others were surprised, un- 
doubtedly, by the extreme difference which ex- 
ists between the results, to which I have been 
brought, and the opinions most commonly re- 
ceived concerning the power of bloodletting ; and 
these declared against the method, which I had 
pursued with a view to arrive at general princi- 


pies, and in favor of that which is commonly 
called the experience of ages. Some physicians 
received my work favorably, being persuaded 
that the method which had been my guide, would 
necessarily lead to precise results in therapeu- 
tics. However, some copies of this memoir, 
having been separately struck off, were quickly 
sold ; and my publisher, M. Balliere, urged me 
some time since to prepare a new edition. I 
thought proper to comply with his request ; and 
this is the memoir in question, as it was pub- 
lished in the Archives, excepting some alterations 
in the style ; and I now submit it anew to the 
judgment of the reader. I have added the ana- 
lysis of some facts since collected, similar to 
those in my first publication ; and by the aid of 
this analysis their value will^be the more readily 
appreciated. Finally, to this analysis succeed 
an examination of the method which I have fol- 
lowed, and some remarks upon a few works on 

The memoir published in the Archives, the 
analysis of the new facts, the examination of the 
method I have pursued in my researches, and 
the remarks above mentioned, will be the sub- 
jects of as many chapters. 







Researches on the effects of bloodletting in some in- 
flammatory diseases. 

THE results of my researches on the effects of 
bloodletting in inflammation, are so little in ac- 
cordance with the general opinion, that it is not 
without a degree of hesitation I have decided to 
publish them. After having analyzed the facts, 
which relate to them, for the first time,. I thought 
myself deceived, and began my work anew ; but 
having again from this new analysis, obtained 
the same results, I could no longer doubt their 
correctness ; and I shall state them to the reader 
as they at first presented themselves to me. 

These results without doubt will be far from 
satisfactory ; but of what consequence is that, if 
they are true ; since, whatever has this charac- 
ter, cannot fail in the end to be of real utility. 

It may be proper to remark further that the 
facts, which I have collected, are neither so nu- 
merous, nor so varied, that the results can be 
considered henceforth as established laws : and 
my object in publishing them, has been chiefly 
to excite anew the attention of observers upon 
the effects of bloodletting in the treatment of in- 

Pleuropneumonia, Erysipelas of the face, and 
Angina tonsillaris, being the inflammations which 
I have observed the most frequently, must alone 
be the subjects of these researches. 


Effect of bloodletting in pleuropneumonia. 

The cases I am about to investigate are sev- 
enty-eight in number ; twenty-eight of them 
proved fatal ; and all were in a state of perfect 
health at the time when the first symptoms were 
developed. 1 

1 I have besides collected from 1821 to 1827, forty-five cases of 
pneuinonitis, or of pleuropneumonia ; but these were relative to 
individuals, whose diseases occurred under different circumstan- 
ces ; that is to say, they were persons already diseased, having 

Of the fifty successful cases, three were bled 
on the first day of the disease, three on the se- 
cond, six on the third, eleven on the fourth, six 
on the fifth, five on the sixth, six on the seventh, 
as many on the eighth, four on the ninth ; and 
the mean duration of the disease was, in the or- 
der pointed out, 12, 10, 20, 20, 22, 21, 19, 17 
and 23 days. 

But the relation between the length of the 
disease and the period of the first bleeding, will 
be made more evident by the following table : 

1 23456789 

10 3 

7 3 

19 3 

19 3 

28 2 

13 1 

24 2 

19 2 

35 1 

12 2 

10 2 

29 3 

12 2 

17 3 

16 2 

12 4 

12 1 

11 2 

14 2 

12 2 

20 2 

15 2 

40 2 

23 3 

19 2 

18 1 

17 2 


22 4 

13 2 

35 5 

18 2 

20 3 

30 3 

16 3 

12 4 

21 2 

17 2 

15 2 

13 2 

17 4 

21 2 

13 2 

27 2 

21 2 

25' 3 

28 4 

40 2 

16 2 

12 4 

12 2J | 10 2J 1 20 3 | 20 8 | 22 2 | 21 2g 

19 2 [17 2 

23 2 

The figures upon the horizontal line above the columns indicate the day when 
the first bleeding was performed ; the figuits on the left in each column mark the 
duration of the disease ; those on the right, the number of bleedings ; and those on 
the horizontal line below, show the mean duration of the disease and the average 
number of bleedings. 

That is to say, if it were possible to establish 

been affected, for a certain time, with pulmonary catarrh ; and I 
have decided to reject these facts from my analysis, in order that 
a just comparison may be instituted. No other fact has been 
excluded, so that I have in truth made a complete enumeration, 
or an analysis, of all the facts strictly analogous to each other, 
which I have collected. 


a general proposition from so small a number of 
facts, it must be concluded that the antiphlogistic 
treatment, commenced the two first days of a 
pneumonitis, may very much abridge its duration ; 
whilst after these two days it would make but 
little difference whether it was commenced a little 
sooner or a little later. But the amount of dif- 
ference which exists between these two results, 
leads us to suspect their exactness ; and a tho- 
rough examination does in truth show, that the 
influence of bleeding, when performed within 
the two first days of the disease, is less than it 
seems to be at first sight, and that in general its 
power is very limited. 

Indeed among the cases of the same column 
in which the antiphlogistic treatment was insti- 
tuted on the same day, (those of the first and 
second excepted) the duration of the disease ex- 
hibits the greatest variety. Thus in the fourth 
column, some were convalescent on the twelfth 
day, others (not to take the extreme) the twen- 
ty-fifth and twenty-eighth. This we cannot at- 
tribute to the violence of the disease, which was 
the same ; nor to the difference of the treatment, 
which was equally energetic and directed by the 
same physician. Whence it seems to result, 
rigorously, that the utility of bleeding has been 
very limited in the cases thus far analyzed. 

Differences no less considerable in the length 

of the disease would unquestionably have existed 
among the cases bled within the first twenty-four 
or forty-eight hours, if their number had been 
greater. And on the same supposition, the dif- 
ference of the mean duration of pneumonitis, in 
subjects bled the two first days, and those who 
were bled at a later period, would have been 
less considerable. So that we should get nearer 
the truth, we should estimate the real difference 
effected in the progress of the disease by the 
greater or less promptness with which we have 
had recourse to bleeding, by taking the mean 
duration of the disease on the one side, in the 
cases bled during the four first days : and on the 
other, in those who were not bled until the fifth 
to the ninth inclusive. And then the mean du- 
ration of pneumonitis would be seventeen days 
among the first and twenty among the second. 

But the average given by the table, is probably 
still a little too favorable in respect to the pa- 
tients bled within the two first days, for another 
reason ; to wit, that, not having committed any 
error of regimen before the bleeding, these pa- 
tients were in a condition the most favorable for 
treatment ; this was not the case w r ith those, in 
whom bloodletting was employed at a later pe- 
riod, and among whom many in each group had 
committed errors in regimen ; some had taken 
strong drink, such as hot sweetened wine, one 


or many days in succession, in a greater or less 
quantity ; some had even taken brandy. The 
length of the disease must certainly have been 
increased by these errors. 

Age had no appreciable influence, every thing 
else being equal, upon the results stated : for this 
was nearly the same on an average among pa- 
tients bled for the first time, before the fourth 
day, and among those who were not bled until 
after this period ; thirty-three years in the first 
set, and nearly thirty-six in the other. A fact 
however, which should not I think be advanced 
as a law, age having certainly a prejudicial in- 
fluence on the termination of pneumonitis. 

Nevertheless, in regard to the foregoing re- 
marks on the causes which, independently of the 
period of the first bleeding, must have effected 
some difference in the mean duration of the dis- 
ease, it will be said perhaps that the pneumoni- 
tis was less severe in the patients bled at a late 
period, than in those bled on the first days of the 
disease : that it was undoubtedly for this reason 
that the former delayed application for medical 
aid ; and that in this manner conditions, unfa- 
vorable to the rapid termination of the disease, 
were compensated. But having appreciated with 
all the exactness, of which I am capable, the 
symptoms experienced by patients at the com- 
mencement of their disease, and at their entrance 

into the hospital, I have found cases of severe or 
mild peripneumonia in a nearly equal propor- 
tion among the different groups of subjects ; so 
that, supposing any mistake on my part, it could 
not be important enough to effect a material dif- 
ference in the results stated, and to warrant us 
in rejecting the conclusions drawn from the ana- 
lysis, which I have given. Physicians not much 
conversant with hospitals, or who seldom prac- 
tise among the laboring classes, will not readily 
give credit to these remarks ; but those differ- 
ently situated are aware that, whether it be from 
indifference, or dislike to hospitals, patients sel- 
dom enter until quite late ; even when their 
diseases have been very violent from the begin- 

Perhaps too it will be thought that I have not 
fixed the exact period of commencement and ter- 
mination of pneumonitis with sufficient precision, 
and that its mean duration has been affected by 
this circumstance. But it seems to me, I have 
obviated any legitimate objections in this partic- 
ular, by following in all cases the same method ; 
that is, I have regarded as the commencement 
of the disease, the period when the patient has 
experienced a febrile affection, more or less vio- 
lent, which has been quickly followed or accom- 
panied by pain on one side of the chest and by 
rusty sputa ; these two symptoms appearing at 


the same time, or nearly the same time ; and 
I have regarded as the time of convalescence the 
period, at which the sick began to take some 
light nourishment ; three days at least after the 
febrile action had ceased ; although the local 
symptoms had not disappeared in every case ; 
that is to say, at a period when percussion of the 
chest did not always elicit a perfectly clear sound 
at the part affected, and when the respiration 
was not very pure ; the ear still discovering here 
and there some crackling and traces of crepita- 
tion. These are remnants of a severe morbid 
affection, which disappear in convalescence, and 
with a rapidity in proportion to the promptness 
of the antiphlogistic treatment. 

Finally, the reader will ask, without doubt, 
whether bloodletting has been the only treat- 
ment, of any importance, which has been em- 
ployed ; and in the cases, where other modes of 
treatment were employed, whether these other 
modes had not some influence on the mean du- 
ration of the disease ; or whether they had not 
counteracted in some degree the good effects of 
the bloodletting. To this I will answer that 
vesication was employed in a certain number of 
cases ; but vesication had no appreciable influ- 
ence on the progress of the disease, as we shall 
presently see, in the following chapter : so that 
it will still appear that, in the cases, which we 

have thus far examined, bloodletting has had but 
a very limited influence on the course of pneu- 

The facts relative to the fatal cases confirm 
these conclusions, and seem still further to limit 
the utility of bloodletting. Out of twenty-eight 
cases in question, eighteen were bled within the 
four first days of the disease, nine from the fifth 
to the ninth ; and if on the one hand, we take 
together all the patients who were bled for the 
first time within the four first days of the pneu- 
monitis, whatever may have been its termina- 
tion ; and on the other hand all those who were 
bled at a later period : we have, in the order in- 
dicated, on one side, forty-one cases, of which 
eighteen, or about three sevenths were fatal ; 
and on the other, thirty-six, of whom nine, or 
only one fourth were fatal. A startling and ap- 
parently absurd result ; the explanation of which 
is found, to a certain extent, in the following 
table. This table, which relates to the fatal 
cases only, shows in each of the columns from left 
to right, the duration of the disease, the number 
of bleedings, and the ages of the patients ; whilst 
the figure above each column indicates the day 
when the first bleeding was practised. 

From ten to fifteen ounces were taken at each bleeding. 




6 5 18 

53 5 65 
12 3 69 
8 2 65 
12 1 55 
17 7 75 

4 1 57 
16 2 54 
6 3 30 
6 4 47 
47 2 75 
11 4 45 

29 2 19 
29 4 46 
12-1 85 
15 3 37 
17 1 67 
20 3 22 

16 4 58 
8 2 63 
9 4 24 

62 4 20 
10 2 40 
29 3 24 

20 2 68 

25 1 40 

22 1 50 

6 5 18 j20 33-566f 15 3 51 |202J49|11 3 48 | 33 328 | 20 2 68 | 25 1 40 | 22 1 50 

We see, in effect, that the patients who were 
bled within the four first days of the disease, with 
the exception of one in the first column, who was 
eighteen years of age, were older than those who 
were not actively treated until after this period, 
in the proportion of fifty-one to forty- three years : 
this difference may not seem great, but it may 
have had great influence on the issue of the mal- 
ady. Indeed the difference in question, that of 
age, is much less, if, taking the fatal and success- 
ful cases indiscriminately, we add together on 
the one hand, all the patients bled within the 
four first days ; and on the other those who were 
not bled until a later period ; for we then find 
that the mean age of the first class is forty-one, 
and that of the second, thirty-eight. But it is 
nevertheless true, that the number of patients 
bled on the first day, who had passed the age of 
fifty, was nearly twice as great as that of the pa- 
tients of the same age, who were bled at a later 
period. This must have had great influence on 
the mortality. 

But it is not enough to have studied the effects 
of bloodletting upon the progress and termina- 


tion of the disease ; its influence on each partic- 
ular symptom must be separately investigated. 
Let us begin with pain. 

Pain was not arrested by bloodletting in any 
of the cases bled within the four first days of the 
disease. On the contrary, it generally increased 
during the succeeding twelve or twenty-four 
hours : and its mean duration, usually in propor- 
tion to that of the disease, was six days among 
those who were bled during the four first days ; 
eight and a fraction among those bled at a 
later period. It yielded more readily to local 
than to general bleeding. 

The sputa regarded as characteristic, were 
adhesive, rusty, or like apricot jelly, and semi- 
transparent: the mean duration of these sputa 
varied like that of the pain, or nearly so ; being 
five days in patients bled within the three first 
days, six in those bled within the three follow- 
ing, seven in cases where the bleeding was from 
the seventh to the ninth day inclusive. 

The morbid character of the sputa became 
more distinct after bleeding, in the greater part 
of the cases, in which it was employed at the 
onset of the disease. On the contrary, the sputa 
were less morbid on the day following the bleed- 
ing among the patients who were not bled until 
a late period. 

It seems to me, this can only be explained by 


admitting that the disease had approximated its 
natural termination in this group, and that it was 
more or less distant from it, in the other. An 
important fact, which explains the difference of 
the effect of bleeding, in circumstances which are 
similar only in appearance, and which shows, 
with many others of the same kind, that we 
probably do not arrest inflammations at once, as 
is very generally believed. 

As it regards crepitation, resonance of voice, 
hwgophony and dullness on percussion, their 
ordinary length varied like that of the preceding 
symptoms ; that is, in the cases bled at a very 
early period, they were still more prominent, 
during one or more days after the first bleeding, 
than they had previously been ; whereas they 
diminished rapidly after the first bleeding when 
this was employed at a later period ; at least in 
the majority of cases. 

The acceleration of the pulse continued four, 
five, six, seven days and more after the first 
bleeding, in the cases bled from the first to the 
sixth day of the disease. Sometimes it even in- 
creased from one day to another, between two 
bleedings. The effect of bleeding upon the pulse 
seemed more decided, when we practised it later 
than the period indicated. That is to say, in a 
considerable number of cases of this kind, the 
pulse became calm, three days after the vene- 


section ; much more rarely not until four or five 
days. This undoubtedly depended, as was be- 
fore remarked, with regard to the sputa, upon 
the circumstance that the bleeding was practised 
near the time when, in the natural course of the 
disease, the pulse was about to resume its natural 

As was the case with the quickness of the 
pulse, the heats and siveats diminished rapidly 
after the letting of blood, only when it was done 
at a certain interval after the commencement. 
The sweats continued longer than the heat, and 
lasted proportionably longer than the other 
symptoms in those individuals, who were not bled 
for the first time until six days after the com- 
mencement of the disease. 

Thus, the study of the general and local symp- 
toms, the mortality and variations in the mean 
duration of the pneumonitis, according to the 
period at which bloodletting was instituted ; 
all establish narrow limits to the utility of 
this mode of treatment. Should we obtain 
more important results, if, as is practised in 
England, the first bleeding were carried to 
syncope ? 

This practice deserves a trial, but great suc- 
cess cannot, I think, be anticipated ; since many 
cases, the history of which I have drawn up, and 
which were fatal, were bled to a sufficient ex- 


tent. Among these there was one who was bled 
on the day of the attack, and who nevertheless 
died on the sixth ; the vein having been opened 
five times, and the quantity of blood lost twelve, 
or sixteen ounces each bleeding. 


Effect of bloodletting in erysipelas of the face. 

Out of thirty-three subjects attacked with 
erysipelas of the face, and who were all in a 
state of perfect health at the time when they 
were attacked, twenty-one were bled. The 
mean duration of the disease was seven days and 
a quarter in those who were bled, and eight in 
the others. That is, after this time, the erysi- 
pelas did not extend, and the local symptoms, 
redness, hardness and thickening of the skin, di- 
minished. It seems, then, that in the cases in 
question, bleeding shortened the duration of the 
disease three quarters of a day. For I do not 
take into account tw r o other means of treatment 
which were used in nearly all the cases, whether 
bled or not. I mean purgatives and mustard 
foot baths. 

Perhaps it will be thought that the difference 
between the two classes of cases would not have 
been so inconsiderable, had not the disease been 


severe and extensive in those of one class, while 
it was mild, or slight and very limited in those 
of the other. But this has not been the fact ; 
and the erysipelas presented many degrees' 
among those patients who were bled, as well as 
in those who were not ; so that we may consider 
them in this respect on an equality. Bloodlet- 
ting was precluded in some cases ; either where 
the patients entered the hospital at a late period, 
or where the febrile action was so unimportant 
that derivatives alone were thought necessary.. 
I will add that some of the patients were bled 
before they came under my observation, and it 
is not to be presumed that in all of these cases 
the febrile action was considerable. 

As for the rest, I am about to enter upon de- 
tails, which will give to the facts in question 
their real value in exhibiting them under another 

The twenty-one patients bled were not all 
bled at the same period. One of them, a medical 
student, past thirty years of age, and of a strong 
constitution, was bled on the first day of the 
disease, and the erysipelas was not stationary, 
nor did it begin to subside until the eighth day 
from the commencement. The other patients 
were bled for the first time on the second, third, 
fourth, fifth and sixth days of the disease, and the 
mean duration in this class was seven, six, seven 


and three quarters, seven and a half and seven 
and a quarter days. That is, it was nearly the 
same at whatever period they were bled. This 
would not be the case, were not the course of 
erysipelas of the face almost always uniform and 
very little affected by bloodletting. Otherwise, 
the effects of bleeding would have been very evi- 
dent in the cases bled within the second or third 
day of the disease. Indeed it should be remarked 
that a majority of the cases, in which the local 
symptoms w r ere the most violent, were bled as 
soon as the second, or third day of the disease, 
and at least twice. And, if we may not con- 
clude that bloodletting was prejudicial in these 
cases, it must at least be acknowledged that its 
utility was not demonstrated. 

It will be thought perhaps that if, instead of 
having had recourse to the lancet, we had ap- 
plied leeches near the inflamed part, or even 
upon the part itself, we should have been more 
evidently successful. But the facts do not sus- 
tain this supposition. For in six patients, to 
whom, leeches were applied near the part affected 
on the second, third and fourth days of the dis- 
ease, three of them besides were bled on the day 
after, and one on the very day of the attack : in 
these cases I say, the mean duration of the ery- 
sipelas was eight days and a quarter ; of course 
more considerable than in the others. I shall 


not certainly attribute this to the leeches, but 
shall conclude, at least, that their influence on 
the progress of erysipelas was not such as had 
been supposed ; that it is even doubtful whether 
they have the slight degree of usefulness of gen- 
eral bleeding. 

Objections may still be made to the inferences, 
which I think may be rigorously deduced, from 
the fact that patients attacked with erysipelas of 
the face are very often sensibly relieved, have 
much less redness of the face, during, or imme- 
diately after the bloodletting than before. This 
relief and paleness of the face, do indeed take 
place sometimes ; but these effects are moment- 
ary, and the progress of cure is not more rapid 
in these cases than in others. So that the only 
conclusion from this fact, is, that the immediate 
and the strictly therapeutic effects of remedies 
must not be confounded. 

Again, as we have already seen in pneumo- 
nitis, we can readily explain how the utility of 
bloodletting in erysipelas of the face has been 
exaggerated, when we reflect on what has taken 
place in some instances, in which the evacuation 
was made at a late preiod of the disease. In 
fact, three patients who were bled on the sixth 
day of the disease only, showed a remarkable 
amendment on the following day in all the symp- 
toms ; and this amendment progressed rapidly, 



But does not every one see that this amendment 
is perhaps a mere coincidence only ; the ery- 
sipelas being near its most usual termination at 
the moment when bloodletting was practised ; 
and that the only reasonable presumption, in 
favor of bloodletting, is that it may have dimin- 
ished the duration of the disease one half or three 
quarters of a day. Another proof, this, of the 
necessity of possessing an exact knowledge of the 
natural progress of diseases in order to arrive at 
a just estimate of the value of therapeutic agents. 
Without an elaborate statement of the general 
symptoms subsequently to bloodletting, I will 
remark that in one third of the cases in question, 
the pulse lessened in frequency one day before 
the retrocession of the disease ; this having been 
at its state, as it is technically called, that is 
neither advancing nor receding. A fact, which 
is not unimportant, with reference to inflamma- 
tion of the deep seated organs, the progress and 
decline of which is commonly estimated by the 
pulse ; since it indicates the necessity of waiting 
at least three or four days after the circulation 
returns to its natural state, before it can be sat- 
isfactorily ascertained that the inflammation has 
not left other, than trivial vestiges, in the diseased 



Effect of bloodletting in angina tonsillaris. 

I have collected thirty-five cases of angina 
tonsillaris, occurring in individuals previously in 
perfect health. Twelve of these were slightly 
affected, the disease spontaneously disappearing, 
or nearly so, in four or five days ; and I set these 
apart from my analysis, so that the remainder 
may be subjects of fair comparison among them- 
selves. Having thus reduced the number of my 
observations, the proportion of violent and slight 
cases of angina was nearly equal among those, 
who were, and those, who were not bled. In- 
flammation of the tonsils existed in all the cases ; 
and was, apparently at least, primitive, and com- 
plicated with inflammation either of the pharynx, 
or of the velum or vault of the palate; in the 
majority of cases, with the two last. 

Out of the twenty-three cases in question, and 
in which the angina was more or less violent, 
thirteen were bled. The average length of the 
disease in these cases was nine days; in the 
others ten days and a quarter : and as the rest 
of the treatment, consisting of mustard foot 
baths, soothing gargles, and poultices to the 
neck, was the same with both classes of patients, 


this difference, I think, can only be attributed 
to the employment, or omission of bloodletting. 
The detailed examination of the facts confirms 
this proposition. Thus, the mean duration of 
the disease was eight days and a half in two 
cases, in which leeches were applied to the neck, 
at the beginning ; the symptoms having dimin- 
ished on the eighth day in one case, and on the 
ninth in the other. It was seven days and a 
half in two patients bled on the third day of the 
disease, which, nevertheless, was nearly as vio- 
lent as in the two above mentioned. The dura- 
tion was ten, nine, and ten and a half days in 
those who were bled on the fifth, sixth, and ninth 
days. This would not have been the case, had 
the bloodletting had much influence on the pro- 
gress of the disease. It is also to be noted, that 
one of the cases, in which the disease lasted 
longest, ten days, is that of a patient to whom 
leeches were applied on the first and fourth days 
of the disease, the number of leeches', it is true, 
being small ; but on the fifth and sixth days in 
large numbers, twenty-five each time; that in 
another in which the bleeding was done in the 
' same manner and abundantly, fifteen ounces, on 
the third and sixth days of the disease, the symp- 
toms did not diminish until the eleventh; and 
that it was very nearly the same in a third case, 
where twenty leeches were applied on the sixth 


day of the disease, followed by a copious bleed- 
ing from the arm in the evening. 

In the three last cases, the disease was with- 
out doubt violent, and it will be thought possible 
to explain the excess of its duration by its se- 
verity. I think the explanation excellent ; but 
what is the conclusion, except that the influence 
of bloodletting on the progress of the disease is 
extremely limited? 

From the same facts we should be led to ques- 
tion the great advantage of the application of 
leeches to the epigastrium in gastritis, or to any 
other part of the abdomen corresponding to the 
viscera presumed to be diseased. Indeed, what 
confidence can be placed on' the a priori pre- 
cepts commonly advanced on this subject, when 
the application of leeches the nearest possible 
to the affected organ, in erysipelas and angina 
tonsillaris, has so slight an effect that it is much 
less evident than that of general bleeding? 

Further, let us particularly notice a remark 
important from its analogy with those before sta- 
ted, namely : that in two cases, where bleeding 
was practised on the sixth and ninth days of the 
disease, the symptoms of the sore throat were 
much less on the next day and the day after ; an 
amendment apparently owing to the bloodlet- 
ting ; but more readily, without doubt, and al- 
most entirely, because the disease was near its 


natural termination, at the moment when the 
vein was opened. 

From the exposition of facts in this chapter, 
we infer that bloodletting has had very little in- 
fluence on the progress of pneumonitis, of ery- 
sipelas of the face, and of angina tonsillaris, in 
the cases under my observation ; that its influ- 
ence has not been more evident in the cases bled 
copiously and repeatedly, than in those bled only 
once and to a small amount ; that, we do not at 
once arrest inflammations, as is too often fondly 
imagined; that, in cases where ^appears to be 
otherwise, it is undoubtedly owing, either to an 
error in diagnosis, or to the fact that the blood- 
letting was practised at an advanced period of 
the disease, when it had nearly run its course ; 
that, it would be well, nevertheless, in inflam- 
mations of imminent hazard, pneumonitis, for 
instance, to try whether a first bleeding] suf- 
ficient to produce syncope, from twenty-five to 
thirty ounces or more, would not be attended 
with greater success ; and finally that, wherever 
I have been able to compare the effect of gener- 
eral, with that of local bleeding by leeches, the 
superiority of the former has appeared to me de- 


I will add that bloodletting, notwithstanding 
its influence is limited, should not be neglected 
in inflammations which are severe and are seated 
in an important organ; both on account of its 
influence on the state of the diseased organ; 
and because in shortening the duration of the 
disease, it diminishes the chance of secondary 
lesions, which increase its danger; that, as it 
is not in our power to arrest inflammatory dis- 
eases at once, we must not endeavor to attain 
this imaginary end, by multiplied bleedings; for 
it must be remembered that a certain share of 
strength is necessary to the resolution of inflam- 
mation ; since it is much more severe and hazard- 
ous in proportion to the feebleness of the patient, 
because this feebleness favors the development 
of secondary affections : finally, that these ob- 
servations seem to show, that the use of the lan- 
cet is to be preferred to that of leeches in the 
diseases, which we have been considering. 



New facts relative to the effect of bloodletting in 
acute diseases. 

Since publishing the memoir, which forms 
the subject of the last chapter, I have observed 
at the hospital of la Pitie, a great number of 
cases of pneumonitis, of erysipelas of the face, 
and of angina tonsillaris ; and although, in the 
cases of pneumonitis I have employed bloodlet- 
ting to the extent of twenty or twenty-five ounces 
and more, or even to syncope ; I have never 
seen these inflammations arrested in a single 
case. I believe even that the bloodletting, al- 
though usually carried to a greater extent than 
was practised in the hospital of la Charite, at 
the time when I made my observations there, 
has not been more decidedly successful. But 
these general propositions, founded upon facts 
trusted, for the most part, to the memory, have 
too little value to be much regarded ; and instead 
of discoursing, in a vague manner, upon the treat- 
ment of forty cases of erysipelas of the face, and 
one hundred and fifty cases of pneumonitis which 
have passed under my observation, the last four 
years, I shall confine myself to giving the reader 
an analysis of the facts, relative to these two dis- 

eases, which I have collected with care during 
the time of my clinical lectures from 1830 to 


Facts relative to the treatment of pneumonitis. 

The observations under this head are twenty- 
nine in number ; in four of the cases the disease 
was fatal ; in twenty-five recovery took place, 
and the patients left the hospital perfectly well. 

In all these cases, the patients were in excel- 
lent health, when the first symptoms of pneumo- 
nitis appeared. 

Not a doubt can be entertained as to the 
character of the disease which affected them, all 
having expectorated rusty, viscid, semi-transpa- 
rent sputa ; all having had, to a greater, or less 
extent, crepitous rale, bronchial respiration, and 
broncophony, with more or less dullness on per- 
cussion, in the corresponding part. 

Of the twenty-five patients who recovered, no 
one was bled on the first day of the disease. The 
first bleeding was on the second, third, fourth, 
fifth, sixth and seventh days ; one case only ex- 
cepted, that of a patient who was convalescent 
on the twenty-second day, and who was not bled 
until the fourteenth. And the disease lasted, 

on an average, in the order pointed out above, 
fourteen, eighteen, fourteen, sixteen, nineteen, 
eighteen, and twenty-two days, according to the 
following table : 

2 3 456 7 14 

15 2 2 
16* 3 4 
11 3 50 

11* 2 30 
27 2 30 
28* 2 25 
9 1 18 

14* 2 32 
19* 2 '24 
14* 2 27 
12 2 35 
13 2 30 
15 2 24 

9* 1 15 
28* 2 30 
11 1 20 

25* 1 20 
21* 1 20 
12* 2 30 

11* 2 34 

19* 2 37 
18* 2 38 
24* 1 12 
21* 2 30 

22* 1 16 

14 2| 27|1S1|25||14 2 29|16 1 21 [19 1 23|18 14-5 30|22 1 16 

The ciphers on the first line indicate the days of the first bleeding ; those in 
each column, from left to right, the duration of the disease, the number of bleed- 
ings, the quantity of blood drawn. The figures, to which an asterisk is pre- 
fixed, also show that the patients to whom they refer, took antimony in large 

That is to say, that at the first glance, it 
would seem rather unimportant whether the pa- 
tients affected with pneumonitis, were bled, for 
the first time, on the second, fourth, or fifth day 
of the disease ; since its mean duration was 
nearly the same, in the three lists of cases bled 
at these different periods. Nevertheless, adding 
together, on the one side, those who were bled 
for the first time, from the second to the fourth 
day inclusive : on the other, those bled after- 
ward ; we find the mean duration of the disease 
to be fifteen days and a half among the first, and 
eighteen days and a quarter among the second. 
Hence it would seem fair to conclude that the 
influence of bloodletting, at a period more or less 


near to the commencement of the disease, has 
been a little more marked in the cases now be- 
fore us, than in those discussed in the first chap- 
ter ; in which the mean duration of the disease 
was seventeen days and a half and twenty days. 

This difference, although slight, is worthy of 
remark, especially as it is found in each of the 
classes of cases, between those who were bled 
for the first time within the four first days of the 
disease, and between those who were bled later ; 
which seems to show that it is not accidental. 

The difference in the results at the two hos- 
pitals is further remarkable, inasmuch as none of 
the cases, treated at la Pitie, were bled on the 
first day of the disease ; that these patients were, 
on that account, in a rather less favorable con- 
dition than those of la Charite, three of whom 
were bled on the first day. Might the diffep- 
ence be referred to this, that the first bleedings at 
la Pitie were a little more copious, than those 
employed at the same stages of disease at la 
Charite ? We shall hereafter revert to this cir- 
cumstance which necessarily must have had some 
effect upon the duration of the disease. 

Again, pneumonitis did not seem to me more 
commonly severe among the subjects bled before 
the fifth day of the disease, than among those 
who were not bled until after this period ; so 
that we could not attribute to the violence of the 


disease, the slight effect of bloodletting employed 
on the first days. 

But it will be said, perhaps, that bloodletting 
was not the only treatment employed, in the 
cases we are considering, and that other thera- 
peutic agents may have interfered with its good 
effects. To this I reply, that antimony was in- 
deed taken in large doses by many of the patients 
bled during the four first days of the disease, but 
that it was likewise administered to those, whose 
first bleeding was not performed until after this 
time ; both sides therefore being thus made 
equal, this circumstance may be disregarded as 
respects the present subject of consideration. 
But should any physician, strongly prejudiced in 
favor of bloodletting, presume that the duration 
of the disease would, generally, have been less, 
had not antimony been associated with bloodlet- 
ting ; I would lead him to observe two cases in 
which this medicine was exhibited, where the 
disease lasted only eleven days ; while it was 
prolonged beyond this term in one of the patients, 
who did not take it, and who was bled on the 
second day. I should also request him to wait 
the further development of facts, which seem 
to me to show, that antimony, far from having 
been prejudicial, has been very useful to our 

Practitioners have been misled in believing it 


possible to arrest pneumonitis, at its onset, by 
large bleedings, from having observed that in 
some cases, rare indeed, the bleeding is followed 
by a considerable amendment in the general and 
in some of the local symptoms, pain and dyspnoea. 
But the other phenomena remain, and are even 
augmented in intensity and extent after the first 
bloodletting, if this has been practised soon after 
the commencement of disease. And if then the 
patient is not accurately examined, the prac- 
titioner believes that the disease is arrested, when 
in fact there is only a diminution of the febrile 
action and some other symptoms. I have notes 
of a remarkable instance of this kind which oc- 
curred during the last year. I refer to the case 
of a young man, of pretty good constitution, who 
entered the hospital twenty-four hours after an 
attack of well marked pneumonitis. His symp- 
toms were, extreme dyspnoea, much pain in the 
left side, hurried respiration, accelerated pulse, 
more than 110, increased heat of skin. He could 
not lie down in bed; the sputa were rusty, 
viscid, semi-transparent ; the sound on percus- 
sion of the thorax, behind, inferior ly, rather dull; 
where at the same time there was heard a crep- 
itous rale, and a confused respiration, approach- 
ing to bronchial ; also, in some points, bronch- 
ophony without haegophony. He was bled from 
the arm to faintness, shortly after his entrance, 


and lost twenty-five ounces of blood. Soon after 
he felt great relief, and on the following day, the 
diminution of the general symptoms was so evi- 
dent, that many who were attending my visit, 
believed they had before them an example of 
pneumonitis arrested. The pain was less than on 
the day before, the pulse less than one hundred, 
anxiety had disappeared, and the expression of 
the face was natural. In the meanwhile the 
sputa retained their characteristic appearance, 
and the dullness of sound and bronchophony had 
become much more extensive than on the pre- 
ceding day. This dullness of sound, the result 
of imperfect hepatization, could not be attributed 
to an effusion of liquid within the pleura ; for a 
fine crepitation, very near the ear, was audible 
on a part of the surface ; besides, the dullness of 
sound, which had extended toward the summit, 
had not on the whole increased ; so that the 
pneumonitis, far from having been arrested by an 
early and copious bleeding, had, since that, be- 
come more developed and extended : nor was its 
progress arrested until the fifth day, while con- 
valescence 1 did not commence until the ninth or 
tenth. This has been observed quite frequently 

1 The convalescence of this patient, and of the others treated 
of in this chapter, is calculated from the data given in the first 


among patients bled less copiously, at a later 
period of the disease ; and in whom the imme- 
diate relief from venesection was much less 
strongly marked. 

Thus far then the results, which naturally flow 
from the study of the new facts before us, are in 
perfect accordance with those laid down in the 
preceding chapter. 

Need I repeat that an excellent mode of ar- 
resting diseases is to confound them, or at least 
to make no distinction in the periods, at which 
such and such remedies were employed ; as I 
have pointed out in the preceding chapter. 

Let us now study the progress and duration 
of each particular symptom ; and see if the cor- 
respondence in question extends to details. 

Pain was not overcome in any case by blood- 
letting ; it was but little influenced by it ; 
for at the end of twenty-four hours, it was 
little less severe than on the day before, in the 
majority of cases. It was still present, on the 
sixth day of the disease, in a patient who 
was bled on the second day ; in this case fifty 
ounces of blood were abstracted, by two vene- 
sections/within forty-eight hours, and on the 
fourth day, five or six ounces more, by the appli- 
cation of twenty leeches, over the painful spot. 
Its mean duration was seven days and a half ; 
that is to say, nearly the same as in the preced- 


ing cases ; whether we take those of pneumoni- 
tis of the lower or of the upper lobes ;* and b 
one of these last where the patient was bled to 
syncope, and lost thirty ounces on the third day 
of the affection, the pain on the following day 
was only a little diminished. 

The sputa did not lose their pathognomonic 
character in a single case, the day after the first 
bleeding ; not even in the cases just stated, al- 
though the first bleeding was considerable. The 
duration of the morbid sputa was in proportion 

1 M. Andral was the first, I believe, who made the remark that 
pneumonitis of the upper lobe was more grave than that of the 
lower. It is true that pneumonitis of the upper lobe is more fre- 
quently met with in fatal cases ; but this is simply a coincidence ; 
for inflammation of the upper lobe seems more severe, merely be- 
cause it occurs for the most part among the aged. Indeed, 
among the cases analyzed in this chapter, about one third had in- 
flammation of the upper lobe, and were on an average fifty-four 
years of age ; whilst the mean age of those, who had inflammation 
of the lower lobe, was only thirty-five. On the other hand, pneu- 
monitis of the inferior lobe was found in one of the fatal cases 
only ; and these facts which accord with all that I have observed 
for three years, scarcely permit a doubt of the correctness of my 

Besides, as inflammation of the upper lobe is in some sort the 
pneumonitis of the aged, we should expect its progress to be dif- 
ferent from that of the lower lobe, which occurs chiefly in the 
young. And in fact the duration of the pneumonitis of the upper 
lobe in patients who get well, exceeds that of the lower by three 
days on an average ; and this difference is very nearly the same 
for each particular symptom. This fact confirms what I stated 
in the preceding chapter respecting the presumed influence of 
age on the progress of the disease. 

to the length of the disease ; so that on an 
average, they did not lose their specific charac- 
ter, until the seventh day of the affection in cases 
bled, for the first time, before the fifth day ; nor 
until the ninth, in those bled at a later period. 
And, the observation made in the first chapter is 
applicable here ; that the influence of bloodlet- 
ting upon the sputa, was the more marked, when 
it was practised at the latest period ; so that in 
those bled at a late period, or after the fourth 
day, the sputa exhibited nothing remarkable after 
twenty-four, forty-eight, or seventy-two hours, 
from the first bloodletting ; while in those bled 
sooner, the specific character never entirely dis- 
appeared before three days, counting from the 
first bleeding. These differences admit of but 
one explanation, viz. that the disease, as I have 
said before, was drawing near its natural termi- 
nation in the first cases, and that it was more or 
less removed from it in the latter. 

Besides, if the duration of the disease was 
very variable in patients bled on the same day ; 
that of the specific character of the sputa was 
equally so ; for this continued, in different de- 
grees, from four to eleven, or from seven to four- 
teen days, in patients bled for the first time, be- 
fore or after the fifth day. 

Crepitation lasted longer than the two symp- 
toms already mentioned. It continued from ten 


to fourteen days in cases bled before the fifth 
from ten to nineteen in those bled afterwards ; 
on an average twelve days in the first, fourteen 
in the second group. In no instance was it ar- 

The respiratory murmur was more or less 
completely altered during eighteen days on an 
average. That modification which is termed 
bronchial did not in any case yield to the first 
bleeding ; but was more affected by it, the later 
it was employed : in other words, if the first 
bleeding was instituted on the sixth day, the res- 
piration would be less bronchial on the following 
day, than it was the day before ; while in pa- 
tients bled on the second or third day of the dis- 
ease, a similar change would not be effected until 
the third day after the bleeding. 

Bronchophony, which depends upon the same 
causes as bronchial respiration, followed the same 
course, and had the same duration. 

Dullness of sound on percussion occurred in 
all the cases, and lasted on an average until the 
nineteenth day ; gradually diminishing. A-nd, 
with the exception of two patients bled on the 
fourth day of the disease, in whom the dullness 
of sound was much less the day after the bleed- 
ing than it had been the preceding day, an 
amendment in this respect began only from two 
to five days after the first bleeding ; and the ear- 


Her the bleeding, the later, relatively, was the 

In three patients, bled on the second day of 
the disease, the pulse fell on the following day 
from 120 and 100 beats per minute to 108, 80, 
and 96. But the next day, after a second bleed- 
ing, the beats were 104, 108, 90 per minute ; 
that is to say, it had diminished in frequency but 
very little after two bleedings. 

It was the same in patients bled for the first 
time on the fourth day : in some of whom there 
was on the following day a temporary improve- 
ment in the pulse, in others none at all. But in 
a great majority of cases, where bleeding was 
not employed until after the fifth day of the dis- 
ease, the pulse was less rapid on the following 
day ; and this amendment went on increasing 

In the cases now before us, as in those exam- 
ined in the previous chapter, the influence of 
bloodletting upon the progress of the symptoms 
of pneumonitis has been unimportant, unless suf- 
ficient interval has elapsed between the attack 
and the venesection : and, no doubt, the reason 
is that, which I have before suggested ; that the 
disease had then more or less approximated its 
natural termination ; which termination was 
more distant, where bloodletting was employed 
at an earlier period. And these facts, as well 


as those which relate to its duration, establish 
narrow limits to the utility of bloodletting in 
this disease. 

Let us now examine the facts which relate to 
the fatal cases. 

Out of twenty-nine cases referred to in this ar- 
ticle, four, as we have seen above, were fatal ; 
i. e. one seventh. A proportion much less con- 
siderable than that given for the patients at la 
Charite, who were subjected to a somewhat 
different treatment, to which I shall presently 

Of these four patients, one only was bled a 
short time after the attack, the third and fourth 
days of the disease, and he died after one hun- 
dred and ten hours from the commencement of 
the disease. 

The others were bled for the first time at a 
later period ; two on the fifth day of the pneu- 
monitis, the last on the eighth. This last died 
on the nineteenth day, while the others on the 
eleventh and seventeenth. That is to say, the 
mortality was vastly greater among those bled 
for the first time after the fourth day, than with 
those bled before that time ; the fatality being 
one fourteenth for the former, and three fifteenths 
for the latter. 

From the disproportion of mortality in the 
above cases, the conclusion is natural that blood- 


letting soon after the attack, is much more im- 
portant than one would have believed, from the 
statement of the cases of recovery. But this 
contradiction is in appearance only, and is re- 
moved when age is taken into the account. 

Indeed, in the cases referred to in this chap- 
ter, there happened the opposite of what was 
noted respecting those referred to in the first ; 
the mean age of the patients treated in this chap- 
ter, who were bled during the four first days of 
the disease, was much less than that of the indi- 
viduals who were not bled until after that period ; 
so that the former were aged thirty-nine years 
three months, the latter forty-seven years eight 
months. Besides, it is worthy of remark, that 
the age of the patient bled during the four first 
days, and whose disease terminated fatally, was 
forty-one, and those of three others bled at a later 
period, was sixty-one, seventy, and seventy-one. 

An inspection of the following table will re- 
move all doubt on this subject ; the four fatal 
cases are placed below the others, and their ages 
may be readily compared with those above in 
each group. The number above each column 
indicates the day of the first bleeding. The num- 
ber on the left of each column denotes the du- 
ration of the disease. That on the right the age 
of the patient, and the figures marked with an 
asterisk those who took antimony. 


23 4 5 679 14 

15 36 

16* 30 
11 29 

11* 60 
27 ID 

23* 66 
9 20 

14* 45 
19* 23 
14* 50 
12 24 
13 42 
15 61 

9* 18 
28* 41 
11 25 

25* 61 
21* 58 
12* 67 

11* 24 

19* 22 
18* 18 
24* 62 
21* 60 

22* 58 

1 10 hours 41 

11 71 

17 61 

19* 70 

It is evidently to the age much more than to 
delay in bloodletting, that we must attribute the 
great fatality of those cases which were not bled 
until four days after the commencement of the 
disease. So that the natural deduction from the 
facts examined with reference to the effect of 
bloodletting in pneumonitis, is in accordance 
with those which appear to me to have been 
drawn rigorously from facts previously collected 
at la Charite, and they all go to show that the 
effect of venesection on the progress of pneu- 
monitis, is much less than is commonly thought. 

But with respect to mortality, rather a re- 
markable difference exists between the subjects 
of the present analysis and those of the preced- 
ing chapter. To what shall this be attributed 1 
Not to age ; for the difference in this respect 
between the two classes was slight, and in favor 
of the patients of la Charite, whose mean age 
was forty, and that of the others forty- three : in 
which estimates I would be understood to include 
the fatal and successful cases. Nor can it be 


presumed that the cases in which early bloodlet- 
ting was employed, were more numerous in pro- 
portion at la Pitie than at la Charite. The ta- 
bles relative to the sick of both hospitals forbid 
this supposition. Nor is it less impossible that 
it should be imputed to the different seasons at 
which the patients came under observation ; the 
majority of the patients of la Pitie having been 
admitted from January 1 to April 1, inclusively ; 
whilst the subjects of my observation at la 
Charite were brought there at different periods 
of the year. There remain then to account for 
the fact in question, the before mentioned differ- 
ence in bloodletting, large doses of antimony, 
and the employment or omission of vesication. 
Let us examine. 

If the patients of la Pitie were less frequently 
bled than the others, each of them was bled more 
copiously, especially at first ; and this differ- 
ence, though not very great, must have had 
some influence upon the fortunate termination of 
the disease. 

As to the effects of antimony r , this medicine 
was administered to sixteen of the patients, who 
recovered during a space of four to seven days, 
in increasing doses, from six to twelve grains in 
six ounces of the distilled water of the lime-tree 
flowers, sweetened with half an ounce of syrup 
of poppies ; and the patients took this in the 


course of the day, in six or eight doses. The 
average length of the disease in these cases was 
eighteen days ; three days more than that of the 
patients who did not take the medicine ; so that 
it would appear at first sight, that the antimony, 
far from having promoted the cure, must have 
had a prejudicial influence. 

This prejudicial agency, however, is only in 
appearance. The antimony was administered 
after frequent venesections, repeated on account 
of the augmented violence of the disease ; upon 
the eighth day, on an average ; and in cases 
where on an average, venesection had not been 
practised, until the fifth day : while in the cases 
where antimony was not administered, venesec- 
tion was instituted on the third day. That is to 
say, antimony was not prescribed in any except 
severe cases, and under unfavorable circumstan- 
ces ; this sufficiently explains, why the disease 
was protracted, in those to whom it was admin- 
istered. Let us add another fact, and it is not 
necessary to insist on its importance, that the 
patients who took antimony, were generally older 
than those who did not ; the mean age of the 
latter being thirty-one, of the former forty-five. 
The difference is very great, and shows not only 
that antimony has not had the prejudicial influ- 
ence, on the duration of pneumonitis, that we 
should at first sight have been tempted to ascribe 


to it ; but that it must, in some cases, have ac- 
celerated its progress and prevented a fatal ter- 

This last proposition seems to be further cor- 
roborated by the changes which almost imme- 
diately followed its administration. In fact, on 
the day after, fifteen out of the seventeen, who 
took antimony, were either a little, or very much 
better ; having evidently more strength, a better 
countenance, and less difficulty in respiration. 
Further, thirteen of them, in whom percussion 
was more or less completely dull over a certain 
extent, when the antimony was first given, 
showed a remarkable amendment in this respect 
on the following day ; the percussion being al- 
ready more sonorous ; and these favorable symp- 
toms constantly made new progress afterward. 

The increase of strength, the day following the 
exhibition of antimony, is the more remarkable, 
as it induced frequent vomiting and purging. 
Out of seventeen cases, sixteen had copious de- 
jections, eight to fifteen in number on the first 
day ; less frequently on the day following, and 
on the third or fourth these returned to their 
natural frequency. Vomiting was less frequent, 
and subsided sooner than the purging ; not last- 
ing beyond the first day, and in five cases, or a 
little more than one third, was absent entirely. 

Three of the patients who died, took anti- 


mony, and were not improved the day after its 
exhibition. One of them only, had the evacua- 
tions above mentioned. 

It appears then, that out of twenty patients, 
in a hazardous condition, to whom antimony was 
given, only three died ; this seems to me, to re- 
move all doubt, as to the utility of large doses 
of antimony in the treatment of pneumonitis ; es- 
pecially when it is considered that these three 
patients were sixty or seventy years of age. 

The treatment of the patients at la Charite 
was further different from that at la Pitie, in this 
respect, that vesication was employed at the for- 
mer, and not at the latter hospital. Can this 
circumstance have effected any difference in the 
unequal mortality of the two classes of patients ? 
Is it probable that vesication, employed at la 
Charite, exerted a happy effect on the progress 
of the disease, and would the patients at la Pitie 
have been cured more readily, and in greater 
numbers, had blisters been used in conjunction 
with antimony ? Let us look at the facts. 

At the hospital of la Charite, blisters were not 
applied in all the cases which terminated favor- 
ably, but only where bleeding was so ineffectual, 
that fears were entertained for the result. Ve- 
sication was used in one half of the cases, or in 
twenty-five patients, whose first bloodletting was 
during the four first days of the disease, or later : 


and the average length of the disease in these 
cases, was twenty-two days two hours ; while 
it was fifteen days eight hours only, in the other 
cases. An enormous difference, which would 
seem to show that the unfavorable conditions un- 
der which blisters were used, have not been sen- 
sibly affected by their action : and therefore we 
may infer that vesication was useless. 

This was not the case, as we have seen, 
among the patients at la Pitie, to whom anti- 
mony was administered, and who were sick only 
three days longer than those who did not take 
it ; notwithstanding the very unfavorable circum- 
stances, under which it was administered. For, 
besides the severity of the disease, which 
was very nearly equal among those who were 
blistered, and those who took antimony, the for- 
mer had the advantage of age, thirty-five years 
and a half, on an average, the latter being forty- 
five years of age, minus a fraction. It would be 
difficult to attribute these differences in duration 
to chance, or to consider them accidental ; seeing 
that the length of the disease and the ages of the 
patients were nearly the same, among those 
treated by bloodletting alone, both at la Charite 
and la Pitie ; the mean age of the first being 
thirty-five, that of the second thirty-one ; the 
average length of the disease fifteen days and a 
third in the one set, fourteen days and one eighth 
in the other. 


The following table will show more distinctly 
the difference just pointed out : 

Mean age of the patients whose r At la Charite, 35 years, 
only treatment was bloodletting, \ At la Pitie, 31 
Mean duration of the disease ^ At la Charite, 15 days \ 
among these patients, ( At la Pitie, 14 " \ 

SAt la Charite, the patients to 
whom blisters were ap- 
plied, 34 years 4-5 
At la Pitie, the patients who 
took antimony, 45 years. 

Mean duration of the disease At la Charite, 22 days, 
in these cases, (At la Pitie, 18 days. 

And the next following table will enable the 
reader to verify the figures : 

123456 789 

]0 28 

7 27 

19* 27 

19 66 

28* 43 

13 62 

24* 40 

19 30 

35 64 

12* 26 

10 26 

29* 23 

12 20 

17 34 

16 60 

12 26 

12 33 

11 20 

14* 45 

12 13 

20* 24 

15 22 

40* 48 

23* 19 

19 53 

18* 54 

17 19 

20* 50 

22* 23 

13 50 

35* 16 

18 25 20* 19 

30 23 

16* 20 

12* 39 

21* 59 

17 36 

15 27 

13 40 

17* 29 

21* 50 

13 29 

27* 26 

21* 44 

25* 53 

28* 54 

40* 48 

16* 22 

12* 19 

The explanation of this table is like that given 
on page thirty-eight, excepting that the figures 
marked with an asterisk indicate the duration of 
the disease in those patients, to whom blisters 
were applied. 

It should be further remarked that antimony 
and blisters were directed at the same period, 
the eighth day of the affection, on an average ; 
and that vesication was in no case followed by 
that speedy and decided amendment, which oc- 
curred in the other cases some hours after the 
use of antimony. 


Since vesication has exercised no apprecia- 
ble influence on the duration of pneumonitis 
among the patients at la Charite, it cannot be 
admitted that it would have shortened the dis- 
ease among those, who were treated for the same, 
at la Pitie. 

Further, I have not only rejected vesication 
from the treatment of pneumonitis, I have also 
ceased to employ it in pleurisy and pericarditis. 
I have treated, within five years, about one hun- 
dred and forty cases of pleurisy at la Pitie, (I in- 
clude here only those who were in perfect health 
at the time they were attacked), without having 
had recourse to vesication in a single instance ; 
and they all recovered. I have had the same 
success in more than thirty cases of pericarditis 
occurring in individuals healthy up to the period 
of attack. It must be admitted that these facts 
render the utility of vesication in acute diseases 
of the chest still more problematical. 

I was induced to reject vesication from the 
treatment of acute thoracic inflammations, be- 
cause, as I have before said, an attentive study 
and rigorous analysis of facts forced me to ac- 
knowledge that acute inflammatory affections, 
far from preserving from inflammation, organs 
which are not the primitive seat of disease, are 
in truth an exciting cause of inflammation ; inso- 
much that the more severe the primitive inflam- 
matory affection, and the more considerable the 


accompanying fever, the more are the secondary 
inflammations to be dreaded. And how then 
can we believe that the effect of a blister is to 
check an inflammation, when this blister is one 
inflammation superadded to another ? I ac- 
knowledge that this method of reasoning was not 
rigorous ; it was mere reasoning by analogy : 
but it was an analogy drawn not from animals 
to man, not from the man in health to the man 
in disease ; but from the sick to the sick himself; 
almost a certainty. I might in this view of the 
subject, without making myself liable to reason- 
able censure, be justified in trying to dispense 
with vesication in acute inflammations of the 
chest ; and with these facts before us, all must 
allow that much has been taken for granted in 
regard to vesication under the conditions in 
question ; and that in all cases its action should 
be rigorously examined. 

Shall we say then that blisters must be aban- 
doned in every case ? Assuredly not. I will 
not even say that it has been rigorously demon- 
strated that they are useless in every inflamma- 
tion ; I speak only of thoracic inflammations, in 
which their usefulness is neither strictly demon- 
strated, nor even probable. But one thing is 
most assuredly beyond question, and we should 
never be weary of repeating it ; that the thera- 
peutic value of blisters is not known ; that it 


must be studied by the aid of numerous and 
carefully noted facts, just as if nothing at all 
were known about it. 

One other therapeutic agent demands the 
reader's attention : I mean the syrup of poppies, 
(diacodium 1 ), which was administered to those 
patients who took antimony ; and which did not 
retard the amendment above noted, as having 
quickly followed the exhibition of that medicine. 
If the syrup was not injurious in this case, should 
this be attributed to its association with anti- 
mony ? I doubt it ; for we have little else than 
reasoning, with regard to the action of opiates in 
the treatment of inflammation ; and I have col- 
lected some facts which show the great amount 
of our prejudices concerning the effect of opium. 
Opium, it has been said, should be avoided in 
the treatment of diseases attended with cerebral 
symptoms, because it acts upon the brain only 
by means of an engorgement of the cerebral ves- 
sels, and that, in this way, we should rather in- 
crease, than diminish the evil. But who has 
proved this mechanism ? No one : for no one 
has proved that cerebral symptoms always de- 
pend upon engorgement of the vascular system 
of the brain. Resting on these two considera- 

1 An ounce of this syrup is very nearly equivalent to a grain 
of opium. 


tions, that, on the one hand, it is not proved that 
cerebral symptoms, those, for instance, which 
are attended with agitation of the limbs, depend 
upon engorgement of the cerebral vessels ; and 
on the other, that, the mode of action of opium 
is not known : during the past year, I have ad- 
ministered this medicine to two young women 
affected with chorea ; in these cases the relief 
was immediate, and in a space of two weeks, the 
disease was happily terminated. Four times 
too, within four years, I have administered the 
syrup of poppies to patients under the typhoid 
affection, who had had subsultus tendinum, for 
twenty-four or forty-eight hours. I began with 
a dose of three drachms, rapidly increased to an 
ounce in the course of the day ; on the fol- 
lowing day the subsultus had lessened, and it 
never recurred, in the same degree, as before the 
administration of the opiate. 

Be this as it may, the following are the results 
of the investigations, in this and in the preceding 
chapter : 

1st. That bloodletting has a happy effect on 
the progress of pneumonitis ; that it shortens its 
duration ; that this effect, however, is much less 
than has been commonly believed : but that pa- 
tients, bled during the four first days, recover, 
other things being equal, four or five days sooner 
than those bled at a later period. 


2d. That pneumonitis is never arrested at 
once by bloodletting, at least, not on the first 
days of the disease. If an opposite opinion is 
maintained, it is because this disease has been 
confounded with another ; or because, in some 
rare cases, the general symptoms rapidly dimin- 
ish after the first bloodletting. But then the 
local symptoms, crepitation, &,c., for the most 
part, continue to be developed not the less for 
this evacuation. 

3d. That age exerts great influence on the 
rapidity of the progress, and on the favorable or 
unfavorable issue of pneumonitis. 

4th. That where bloodletting proves ineffect- 
ual, consequently, in severe cases, antimony, in 
large doses, acts favorably, and appears to di- 
minish the mortality. 

5th. That vesication has no evident influence 
upon the progress of pneumonitis ; and that it 
may be dispensed with, in the treatment of pleu- 
risy and pericarditis, occurring in healthy sub- 

But, notwithstanding the good effects of large 
doses of antimony, in the treatment of pneumo- 
nitis at la Pitie, it will be said, perhaps, that the 
mortality at this hospital was much greater than 
that announced by many respectable physicians, 
under the same circumstances ; particularly by 
the illustrious Laennec. 


Indeed, in his work on diseases of the chest, 
we meet with the following statement i 1 "In 
the year 1824, at the clinique of the Faculty, I 
treated with antimony, twenty-eight cases of 
pneumonitis, either pure, or complicated with a 
slight pleuritic effusion. All these recovered, 
with the exception of one cachectic old man, 
whose mind was already much impaired by age, 
and who took but little antimony, because he 
could not bear it. These cases, nevertheless 
were, for the most part, very severe. In the 
course of the present year, &c. &,c. the mor- 
tality was a little less than one in twenty-eight." 

A little further, p. 504, he says, " The results 
I have just stated are more favorable than those 
lately published by M. Rasori ; this may depend 
upon two causes : first, that peripneumony can 
be detected much sooner by auscultation than by 
the ordinary symptoms ; and secondly, that M. 
Rasori has apparently included many cases of 
simple pleurisy, or pleuropneumony with pre- 
dominance of pleurisy, under the head of pneu- 
monitis ; for it is impossible to distinguish these 
cases without the aid of auscultation ; and we 
have before remarked that, in the treatment of 
pleurisy by antimony, we ought not to expect the 
same success as in pneumonitis." 

1 Second edition, 1st volume, page 500. 


One remark, with regard to these statements 
of Laennec, will no doubt have occurred to the 
reader ; that they are deficient in details con- 
cerning the number of bleedings, the age of the 
patients, the period at which they were bled, the 
period when they took antimony, and the mean 
duration of the disease ; so that in consequence 
of this deficiency, we are not able to institute 
a comparison between these observations and 

Another much more important remark is that, 
in a certain number of cases, Laennec trusted 
entirely to auscultation, in making his diagnosis; 
that he considered crepitation, independently of 
every other local symptom, to be an infallible 
guide : so that he must have admitted many as 
cases of pneumonitis, in whom there existed 
crepitation only, without rusty, semi-transparent 
sputa ; without a more or less complete altera- 
tion of the respiratory sound ; and without any 
degree of dullness, on percussion, at the part af- 

We all know how highly cultivated were the 
senses of Laennec ; how delicate his ear. Nev- 
ertheless, as there is not a great difference be- 
tween a crepitant rale, rather coarse, (for it is not 
always equally fine,) and a subcrepitant, rather 
fine, Laennec may possibly have been deceived, 
and taken one of these rales for the other, in a 
considerable number of cases. 


In this case, he must have confounded acute 
pulmonary catarrh with pneumonitis, as the for- 
mer affects the last ramifications of the bronchiae, 
and is accompanied with a subcrepitant rale ; and 
it was without doubt, in consequence of such 
mistakes that there is so wide and important a 
difference between his results and my own : for 
acute pulmonary catarrh is not fatal, when it 
occurs in healthy subjects, whatever be the treat- 
ment ; those cases perhaps excepted, in which 
the whole of both lungs is affected. 

Some other physicians, since his time, have 
undoubtedly fallen into the same error ; for we 
cannot otherwise explain how talented and hon- 
orable men, of unquestionable honesty in scien- 
tific researches, should have been more success- 
ful than even Laennec, in the treatment of pneu- 
monitis with preparations of antimony. 

In the same way, we can account for the fact, 
that double pneumonitis, terminating success- 
fully, is so frequently met with, by some men, 
and so seldom by others. Indeed, out of all the 
cases investigated in this chapter, there was but 
one who recovered, among those affected with 
double pneumonitis. Further, the inflammation 
of the lung, secondarily affected, was but trifling ; 
it was less in extent than the palm of the hand. 

In cases of pulmonary catarrh, affecting the 
extreme bronchiae, it is indeed extremely rare, 


not to find a subcrepitant rale at the lower part 
of the back on both sides. It cannot, therefore, 
be too often repeated, that auscultation, like all 
the most accurate modes of investigation, can 
lead to true conclusions, only when its results 
are compared with those obtained by other 
methods. Laennec himself has given cautions of 
this kind, which however he has not always ob- 


Effect of bloodletting in erysipelas of the face. 

During the time before mentioned, I col- 
lected eleven cases of erysipelas of the face, oc- 
curring in individuals perfectly healthy up to 
the time of attack ; and they all recovered, ac- 
cording to my constant experience in similar 
cases. Six of them w r ere not bled and did not 
take any purgative : the average duration of the 
disease was eight days and a quarter. It was 
ten and a half in those who were bled. 1 This 
difference may readily be explained, by the de- 
gree of severity of the disease, which was greater 
in these last than in the others. 

1 It is scarcely necessary to inform the reader that I have fixed 
the duration of the disease, in these cases, according to the data, 
stated in the preceding chapter. 


Four of the patients were bled once only, and 
that on the third or fourth day. Among these, 
the disease lasted six and a half days, in one 
case, ten and twelve in two others, and sixteen 
in the fourth : this last was a patient, who was 
bled to twenty ounces on the third day. After 
this, how can it be believed that erysipelas of the 
face may be at once cut short ? The fifth and 
last patient lost sixteen ounces in two bleedings, 
on the third and sixth day of the disease, which 
disappeared on the eighth. 

These, and similar investigations, in the first 
ohapter, lead to the same results, and establish 
narrow limits to the utility of bloodletting in ery- 
ispelas of the face. 

I have collected, in my clinical course, four 
cases only of angina tonsillaris ; and these of 
course are insufficient for analysis ; I therefore 
pass on to the third chapter. 



Examination of the method, followed in the preced- 
ing chapters, to determine the therapeutic effects 
of bloodletting and antimony. 

In studying the history of medical agents, it 
is not most important to ascertain their immedi- 
ate action on the animal economy, but their the- 
rapeutic action, properly so called ; in other 
words, their influence upon the progress and ter- 
mination of different diseases. It has therefore 
been my constant object, in the two preceding 
chapters, to obtain such information concerning 
bloodletting and antimony ; and to this end, I 
have followed a method which seems to me to be 
at once natural and rigorous. Indeed what was 
to be done in order to know whether bloodletting 
had any favorable influence on pneumonitis, and 
the extent of that influence ? Evidently to ascer- 
tain whether, other things being equal, the pa- 
tients who were bled on the first, second, third or 
fourth day, recovered more readily or in greater 
numbers, than those bled at a later period. In 
the same manner it was necessary to estimate 
the influence of age, or any other circumstance, 
on the appreciable effects of bloodletting. In 
other words, whether patients, in such circum- 


stances, recovered sooner, other things being 
equal, under the influence of bloodletting, than 
others in different circumstances. And as to the 
details of the plan pursued in this inquiry, there 
was one course which seemed almost necessary. 
It was requisite to form one class of such patients 
as were similarly situated, another of those in 
somewhat different circumstances, to take the 
mean duration of the disease in each class, to com- 
pare and to draw conclusions. 

This method, however, the simple exposition 
of which, ought to be a sufficient demonstration 
of its necessity, this method has been criticised 
by more than one physician. Let us see if there 
is any foundation for the attacks upon it ; and if 
it be possible to arrive at rigorous results, at any 
thing like a demonstration in therapeutics, with- 
out having recourse to it. 

The first, and apparently the most weighty ob- 
jection to the method in question, is that it is 
difficult to collect a sufficient number of cases of 
any one disease, which shall be identical ; es- 
pecially if it be remembered that two cases of 
disease will hardly be found alike in every par- 

Without doubt, if, in order that two cases of 
the same disease may be classed together, it is 
considered essential that the individuals should 
be perfectly equal in age, and mathematically 


similar in strength, stature and flesh ; if the dis- 
ease must be exactly at the same stage, of the pre- 
cise extent, (supposing it possible to measure it) : 
if the febrile action must be similar to such a de- 
gree, that the pulsations of the arteries in the 
two cases must not vary two or three strokes ; if 
such are the conditions of the required resem- 
blance, it is impossible that they should ever be 
found united ; any more than that two leaves on 
the same tree should be found exactly alike in 
form, color and thickness. And as there is an 
evident necessity of uniting similar facts, in order 
to classify them and draw from them correct con- 
clusions, it would follow that there would be 
nothing but individualities in medical science ; 
that it would always be impossible to attain any 
general principle whatever, even in pathology ; 
and also that there would be no means of de- 
scribing the leaf of a tree in general terms. Ex- 
perience, fortunately, enables us to appreciate 
the value of such conclusions, and of the asser- 
tion which gives rise to them. A leaf of a tree 
once well described may always be recognised ; 
and general principles of pathology, once clearly 
defined, can always be verified under circumstan- 
ces similar to those, in which the subjects were 
placed, from whom such general principles were 
derived. Thus, in truth, we can form a class of 
facts bearing sufficient resemblance, one to 


another, and from hence deduce laws which every 
day's experience verifies. 

Reasoning a priori, as is the habit of those 
physicians who oppose this method which is 
known as the numerical method, we might, we 
necessarily should infer from the diversity in 
temperaments, in height, intelligence and many 
other circumstances easily estimated, we should 
infer that differences not less evident, existed in 
regard to the deep-seated organs and their func- 
tions ; and maintain, with respect to the stomach, 
for example, that as many kinds of food were 
necessary as there were individuals. Experi- 
ence however shows that, in spite of these strik- 
ing and indisputable differences between persons 
most resembling one another, nine hundred and 
ninety-nine out of one thousand, who differ in 
age, sex, temperament, &c. live on the same 
food, prepared in the same manner. 

Experience also shows, and it is to experience 
we must appeal on every disputed point, that 
certain medicines, administered in the same dis- 
ease, to individuals of different age, strength, 
temperament, &c. are almost uniformly success- 
ful. For instance, drastic purgatives in pain- 
ter's colic, cinchona in intermittent fever, &c. 
Whence it follows, on the one hand, that a per- 
fect, ideal resemblance is not necessary to the 
classification of facts ; and on the other, that a 


truly efficacious medicine will exercise its influ- 
ence in spite of differences in those, to whom it 
is administered ; the malady itself seeming to ef- 
face such differences. 

With regard to cinchona, it will perhaps be 
said that the argument is not conclusive ; this 
medicine having been administered in intermit- 
tent diseases. But of what importance is that 
consideration ; so far as regards the subject un- 
der discussion ; since the patients, to whom the 
cinchona was given, offered all the varieties in 
respect to age, sex, temperament, strength, the 
period of the disease, &c. &c. 

If there are many circumstances, which it is not 
necessary to regard, in making a general esti- 
mate of the effects of the therapeutic agents em- 
ployed in the treatment of painters' colic and in 
that of intermittent fevers ; one may also disre- 
gard them in the treatment of many other dis- 
eases. In any epidemic, for instance, let us sup- 
pose five hundred of the sick, taken indiscrimin- 
ately, to be subjected to one kind of treatment, 
and five hundred others, taken in the same man- 
ner, to be treated in a different mode ; if the 
mortality is greater among the first, than among 
the second, must we not conclude that the treat- 
ment was less appropriate, or less efficacious 
in the first class, than in the second ? It is una- 
voiriable ; for among so large a collection, simi- 


larities of condition will necessarily be met with, 
and all things being equal, except the treatment, 
the conclusion will be rigorous. In this manner 
has the treatment of Asiatic Cholera been esti- 
mated ; and none, unless those whose reputations 
have been concerned, have thought the method 
a bad one. Indeed I should like to know how 
we should proceed to satisfy ourselves on this 
point without counting. 

Let us further remark that the objection made 
to the numerical method, to wit, the difficulty or 
impossibility of forming classes of similar facts, is 
alike applicable to all the methods that might be 
substituted ; that it is impossible to appreciate 
each case with mathematical exactness, and it is 
precisely on this account that enumeration becomes 
necessary ; by so doing, the errors, (which are in- 
evitable,) being the same in two groups of patients 
subjected to different treatment, mutually compensate 
each other, and they may be disregarded without 
sensibly affecting the exactness of the results. 

One of the objections made to the numerical 
method is that similar facts cannot be brought 
into comparison, because there is great difficulty 
in determining the commencement of a disease, 
and an impossibility of estimating its degree, or 
violence by its duration. This objection might 
be fully answered by referring to preceding re- 
marks on this head. But it is perhaps better to 


reply directly and briefly. Without doubt it is 
difficult to fix the period of the commencement 
of a disease, and no one perhaps has insisted on 
this circumstance more strongly than myself. 
At the same time it -is not impossible to decide 
this point, either in acute or chronic diseases ; 
if we except some few patients who are deficient 
in intelligence or in the power of recollection ; 
and the cases of all such should be set aside and 
regarded, in many respects, at least, as of no 
value. And it is also perfectly true, that it is 
impossible to measure the degree or violence of 
a disease by its duration. But who has said that 
these two things were the same, and always pro- 
portioned to one another ? In judging of the 
degree of a disease, can we not rely on the vio- 
lence of the febrile action, the pain, the prostra- 
tion of strength ? and on certain symptoms pe- 
culiar to each affection ? In pneumonitis, for in- 
stance, on the dyspnoea, or the results of auscul- 
tation and of percussion, &c. &c. ? 

I will add, that it is still more difficult to fix 
exactly the period of termination than of the ac- 
cess of a disease ; this however, must be done, 
whatever method is adopted to appreciate thera- 
peutic agents : it must be done at any rate, even 
if, without any method at all, one should be con- 
fined to a vague and uncertain interpretation, 
for rigorous it cannot be, of isolated facts. 

\ 62 

Upon the subject of bloodletting in particular, 
it has been already said that its influence, in an 
absolute sense, cannot be estimated any more 
than that of other therapeutic agents. For in- 
stance, the patients may be bled in the middle, 
or at the termination of a pneumonitis ; this dis- 
ease may be mild, or severe ; the abstraction of 
blood copious, or moderate ; you cannot there- 
fore, it is added, form a judgment of its effect, 
whether beneficial or injurious ; unless you have 
described precisely the motives for having re- 
course to it, and have pointed out exactly the 
signs, which have indicated its employment. 

If by motives it is understood that no thera- 
peutic agent can be employed with hope of suc- 
cess, unless the case can be recognised as anal- 
ogous to others, in which it has been used with 
advantage ; I comprehend the proposition, and 
view it in the same light ; it is simply the appli- 
cation of experience to therapeutics. But if by 
motives, as by indications, are meant merely a 
priori considerations : this view is altogether hy- 
pothetical ; it is a kind of experiment, founded 
on what are called rational views, which should 
be resorted to only for want of a better guide in 
case experience has not instructed us ; and I re- 
pel it with all my strength. 

The foundation, upon which I think it possible 
to establish the value of therapeutic agents, has 

63 / 

appeared so insecure to many others, that they 
are astonished at the excess of my confidence ; 
it has been thought that I should have escaped 
from error if I had first of all sought to make 
myself master of the spirit of mathematical 
science. What is the calculus, it has been 
said. A method, which strikes off all differences 
in the objects to which it is applied, in order to 
transform those objects into abstract and abso- 
lute quantities. 1 

1 This and the preceding objections have been brought forward 
anew by a physician, whose name I shall not quote for fear of the 
imputation of revenge, and this I am far from entertaining. This 
physician has said " By invoking the inflexibility of arithmetic, 
in order to escape the encroachments of the imagination, one 
commits an outrage upon good sense ; as if it were possible to 
heap together flowers, houses and birds, and to derive from the 
medley, fish and fruits ! " In other words, to subjoin to one case 
of pneumonitis, another of the same affection, apparently as severe, 
occurring in individuals apparently under similar circumstances, 
but which may differ a little in fact ; this is the same thing as the 
bringing together of flowers and houses ! What sort of readers 
does the author think he is addressing ? 

Following this objection are two others, which are analogous, 
and refute themselves. 

That the numerical method should have opponents is natural, 
and was easily foreseen ; for what proposition is there, except an 
axiom, which is adopted unanimously ? Fortunately for the pro- 
gress of science, the numerical method is considered by the most 
judicious and experienced men, as a necessary instrument for 
establishing general principles in medicine ; and attacks on it 
will be futile ; for the only auxiliary will be the repugnance 
unfortunately so natural, to great and continued labor: and it 
will be sufficient to ensure the progress of science that this repug- 


To this I reply that the calculus, as I employ 
it, does not efface differences : it supposes them; 
it limits itself to combining similar unities in or- 
der to compare them with parallel unities, these 
being subjected to somewhat different influences ; 
that if, after all, as has been before remarked, it 
should sometimes be necessary that facts should 
be combined, which are not strictly similar ; the 
error will be distributed through the different 
groups or classes of facts, and will be equalized ; 
so that a comparison can be instituted between 
several groups without altering the result. 

In fine, it is by the results that the value of 
methods is to be appreciated ; men have for ages 
devoted themselves to therapeutics, and the 
science is still in its infancy. Some course must 
be pursued different from that, which has been 
hitherto. Able men have never been wanting to 
science ; and it is to the method pursued, or 
rather to the want of method, that we must at- 
tribute the actual state of therapeutics. Let us 
bestow upon observation the care and time which 
it demands ; let the facts be rigorously analyzed 
in order to a just appreciation of them ; and it 

nnnce be overcome by some individuals of industrious habits. 
I will add, that the necessity of the numerical method can be 
completely demonstrated only ^by the objections of its oppo- 
nents; it will in truth be established by their labors. 


is impossible to attain this without classifying and 
counting them ; and then therapeutics will ad- 
vance not less steadily than other branches of 

Hitherto there has been so much fluctuation 
in medicine ; results, (as they have been called) 
so variable, so often belied by the facts ; so sel- 
dom has experience verified what is found in 
books, that it will perhaps be said that the 
science, which by my figures I render so cer- 
tain, this science will desert the practitioner by 
the bedside. Without doubt science will desert 
the physician, who makes an improper applica- 
tion of it ; but how could it abandon him, if he 
employs it with discernment ; science, true sci- 
ence, I mean, being but a summary of particular 
facts. In proof of the truth of these proposi- 
tions I would remind the reader of the results, 
which I arrived at by the numerical method, six 
years ago, with regard to the effect of blood- 
letting in acute diseases ; and that these results 
have been since confirmed by the analysis of 
new facts collected at the Hospital of la Pitie. 
I will add that an industrious young physician, 
M. Bachelier, published in 1832, in his inau- 
gural dissertation, a series of facts, which con- 
firm all that I have said and observed on the 
subject of bloodletting ; and as this cannot be 
considered an accidental coincidence, it decides 


incontrovertibly in favor of the method, which 
leads to such results. 

The objections made to the numerical method, 
as applied to therapeutics, are then unfounded. 
Therapeutics cannot advance without it. To say 
that this method is not necessary, in order to 
study this subject with certain advantage, is to 
deny the necessity of grouping facts according to 
their resemblances, and then of numbering them 
in order to give an account of the action of thera- 
peutic agents : for in truth, counting has no other 
object. Besides, such a denial betrays excessive 
prejudice and a forgetfulness of what is done in 
common affairs. Indeed when physicians are 
called to attend on a patient, if after having 
agreed upon the character and kind of disease, 
one of them differs from his colleagues in regard 
to the treatment proposed, what does he do to 
sustain his views ? He does not trust (I refer to 
practitioners of experience) to theoretical argu- 
ments, to a priori considerations, for these would 
never produce conviction in any one ; but, he 
urges the preference of his own plan, on the 
ground that he has seen it more often successful 
than any other proposed. That is to say, he 
reasons as if he had counted ; although without 
having done so, I agree ; and this reasoning is a 
tacit avowal, or proof that one cannot determine 
the operation of a therapeutic agent without in- 


quiring whether, if administered under stated 
conditions, and such as are apparently similar, 
it has not been more often successful than any 

It will be said, perhaps, that the method in 
question, although it may enable us to show, 
generally, that this or that medicine is better 
than another, does not show why a certain indi- 
vidual, affected with pneumonitis for example, and 
treated just like his neighbor, who is apparently 
in the same condition : it does not show, it is 
said, why the former recovers more slowly than 
the latter. To this I reply, that the advantage 
derived from the numerical method is very great, 
and cannot be obtained from any other ; but 
that, when certain patients, who were thought to 
be under similar circumstances, and who are 
treated in the same manner, recover health after 
Very unequal periods of disease, this must be at- 
tributed to a want of such an exact resemblance 
in the cases, as they had been thought to pos* 
sess ; and this is only another reason for study- 
ing the sick with great care, the more exactly to 
ascertain the points of similarity and dissimilarity 
among them. But in order to know whether the 
dissimilarities are as important, as we are inclined 
to consider them, whether they have in fact a 
marked influence upon the action of therapeutic 
agents, whether they explain the difference in 


duration of diseases ; it is obviously necessary to 
arrange on one side, all the cases in which dis- 
similarities, not noticed at first view, w r ere found 
to exist : on the other, the cases in which they 
do not exist : to count both lists : and if the du- 
ration of disease in each patient on the same list 
presents differences less than those in question, 
add these durations, take the average, and com- 
pare it with the other list. In other words, we 
must still count. It is clear that until similar 
facts have been thus brought together, counted, 
&c. there is scarcely a probability in favor of 
this or that opinion. 

Yes, I do not hesitate to say it, and the atten- 
tive reader will unite with me in the conviction : 
between him who counts his facts, grouped ac- 
cording to their resemblance, in order to learn 
what value he can attach to therapeutic agents, 
and him who does not count, but who contents 
himself with repeating more or less, rarely or fre- 
quently ; there is the difference of truth and 
error ; of a thing clear and truly scientific on 
one hand, and of something vague and worthless 
on the other : for what place can be assigned in 
science to that which is uncertain ? 

No one denies the necessity of a large body 
of facts, in order to decide upon the best treat- 
ment of any disease whatsoever ; but of what 
service are these facts if they are not enumerated 1 


Still further objections are raised : it is urged 
in opposition to the numerical method, that the 
amount of facts, upon which it operates, is always 
limited ; and that to be as valuable in all respects, 
as it is thought to be by its friends, it should be 
employed upon a much larger body of cases than 
a single observer can collect. But this very ob- 
jection is one of the strongest arguments in its 
favor ; since, as each practitioner counts, limited 
numbers added to limited numbers, will at last 
produce such considerable results, as not only to 
determine the law, but to present it in a form of 
arithmetical exactness. 

We are constantly told of the experience of 
ages in medicine ; but how can this experience 
ever be embodied, if those who write, instead of 
saying I have seen so many and so many times, 
merely say I have often seen, or seldom seen ? 
By determinate observations the experience of 
one man can be added to that of another man. 
But how can the experience of one who says 
more, less, rarely or frequently, be added to that 
of another, who in like manner says, more or less 
rarely, more or less frequently ? Suppose thou- 
sands of authors to have proceeded in this man- 
ner, it is as if there had been but one : and in 
many respects, as if there had been none at all. 
If then there is a means of embodying the experi- 
ence of ages, it is the numerical method. 


This proposition will undoubtedly soon be 
the current opinion ; and then we shall hear no 
more of medical tact, of a kind of divining pow- 
er of physicians. No treatise whatsoever will 
continue to be the sole development of an idea, 
or a romance ; but an analysis of a more or less 
extensive series of exact, detailed facts ; to the 
end that answers may be furnished to all possi- 
ble questions : and then, and not till then, can 
therapeutics become a science. 

Let us finish what remains of this examina- 
tion by a rapid glance at some monographs on 
the subject of bloodletting. A few quotations 
will be sufficient to show the course that has 
been pursued ; and will inform us whether any 
one of the numerous points discussed, has been 
decisively settled by them; and whether the 
method I have laid down is not the only one, 
which would have decided the questions in de- 
bate. The works, to which I would for a mo- 
ment direct the reader's attention, are those of 
Quesnay, Fauchier, Freteau, Vieusseux, and 
M. Poliniere. 

Quesnay 1 begins by remarking that experience 

1 Traite des effete et de 1'usage de la saignee, une vol. in 12mo. 


shows in the main the utility of bloodletting in 
many diseases ; but that experience is so equivo- 
cal as to the success of this remedy, that prac- 
titioners think differently in different cases ; that 
all nevertheless appeal to experience, in sup- 
port of their different opinions, and of the theo- 
ries which they have framed to account for the 
effects of bloodletting, &c. &c. (page 2). 

These remarks, which were true in the days 
of Quesnay, are unfortunately so at the present 
day. But instead of searching for the deficien- 
cies of experience, if one would not dignify with 
the title of experience something, which does 
not in the least resemble it, or which is nothing 
but its shadow; the author concludes merely by 
saying, " that experience which conducts us in 
the dark regions of practice, is a faithless guide 
(page 3 and 4) ; that if our knowledge on the 
subject of bloodletting is indefinite, and uncer- 
tain, it is because the ideas we have entertained 
in respect to its general and primary effects, 
have been very vague and obscure." (p. 5). 

With these views, he consequently endeavors 
to show, by a multitude of arguments, which 
have no other foundation than some facts noted 
in a physical order, that the primitive effects of 
bloodletting, upon which all its influence de- 
pends, may be reduced to three ; evacuation, 
spoliation, and dimotion : from hence numerous 


indications follow, still less to be depended upon, 
than the blind experience of practitioners, which 
Quesnay treats with so much contempt. There 
is not a shadow of direct demonstration; we 
might suppose that he would have thought him- 
self disgraced by attempting it. And we are 
not astonished that after having denied revul- 
sion and derivation, in his view of the general 
effects of bloodletting, without deigning to refer 
to facts ; we are not astonished at the sort of 
fatuity with which he cries, " The discovery of 
the circulation of the blood has dissipated the 
chimeras, which led the great masters into error. 
A more rigorous examination of the laws of the 
circulation will finally scatter the prejudices, 
which have hitherto been entertained, respect- 
ing derivative and revulsive bleeding." 

This is not the place to inquire whether the 
revulsive or derivative effects, attributed to 
bleeding, are real or imaginary; but all will 
agree, that an appeal to the laws of the circu- 
lation for a decision on this point, is a proceed- 
ing entirely opposite to that required in the 
sciences, where theory, or general principles, 
must of necessity be deduced from particular 
facts. Unfortunately, Quesnay has no other 
method, and certainly the incomplete experi- 
ence of practitioners cannot take rank below 
his assertions. 


Besides we find that the doctrines of revulsion 
and of derivation have not been neglected by any 
of the authors above mentioned ; all have touched 
upon them ; Poliniere and Fauchier deny them ; 
Freteau and Vieusseux admit them. 

Amidst this conflict of opposite opinions, how 
shall the question be satisfactorily settled ? Not 
in the least degree by following the example of 
the above named authors : not by denying the 
doctrine a priori, as Quesnay and Fauchier have 
done ; nor by citing some cases in support of 
them, after the manner of their antagonists ; 
since one may cite on the other side such as 
would favor an opposite doctrine. But by col- 
lecting the greatest possible number of facts, 
taken indiscriminately, provided they are exact ; 
these facts being all of them relative to patients 
under the same affection ; some of whom shall 
have been bled, the nearest possible to the seat 
of the disease ; others, at the point most distant 
from it ; by analyzing all the facts ; by carefully 
estimating the age, sex, and strength of the indi- 
viduals ; and then seeing if, in a certain number 
bled near the part affected, the disease has made 
more favorable and rapid progress ; or, on the 
other hand, has more often terminated fatally, 
than in another group bled at a point the most 
distant from the seat of disease. Having once 
completed the analysis, the question will be de- 
10 ' 


cided, provided the facts are sufficiently nu- 
merous. Indeed, how can the problem be clearly 
solved in any other way? 

Fauchier, 1 whose work on the indications of 
bleeding was crowned by the Medical Society at 
Tubingen, in 1807 ; Fauchier, after having 
stated the main points which he proposes to dis- 
cuss, remarks that they all belong to clinical 
medicine ; that they should all for this reason be 
decided by experience alone, (page 12). And, 
some pages beyond, forgetting this profession of 
faith, he denies the doctrines of derivation and re- 
vulsion, because he believes them not to be in ac- 
cordance with the laws of the circulation, (page 
21). That is to say, he follows the course of 
Qnesnay, who, at least, justly appreciated, what 
the physicians of his time called experience ; 
whilst Fauchier, thinking that experience suf- 
ficient, contents himself with being its echo ; 
giving, almost exclusively, as precepts, the most 
commonly received practice of his time ; for his 
work is in truth nothing else. Yet, this work, 
(and let us not forget it, for it shows the spirit of 
the time,) this work was crowned by a Medical 
Society. Moreover, as if to remove all kind of 
doubt in regard to his views of experience, as 

1 Nouvelles indications de la saign^e, 1 vol. 8vo. 


applied to therapeutics, Fauchier endeavors, 
after the example of Quesnay, to determine the 
general effects of bleeding ; and he concludes 
from his researches, that the cases in which we 
must employ bloodletting, are these : first, where 
there is plethora ; second, where there is too 
great frequency and excess of strength in the 
contractions of the heart ; third, where there is 
a depraved tension of the solids ; fourth, where 
there is excess of strength ; fifth, where there is 
increased heat, (page 70). 

These principles being laid down, the author 
deduces from them, without difficulty, the cases 
in which bleeding should be practised ; this is 
an error at the outset, as I have already remarked 
with regard to Quesnay. For in sciences of ob- 
servation, general principles can be the result 
only of particular facts, sufficiently and properly 
estimated ; so that, in order to determine, gen- 
erally, the cases in which bloodletting is appli- 
cable, Fauchier should have begun by investi- 
gating its effects in each particular disease ; not 
indeed, in a careless manner, but rigorously ; 
an immense labor, which would demand the lives 
of many industrious men. 

We feel besides that a man, who places so 
much confidence in a priori considerations, will 
not be very exact in respect to particular facts. 
Thus Fauchier, after having combated generally 


the opinions of the few physicians, who reject 
bloodletting in certain cases, in which he thinks 
if necessary, Fauchier, to support his own views, 
quotes the following facts, which I relate without 
abridging them : 

"So, because Madame C. J., attacked with 
pneumonitis truly inflammatory, was seventy 
years of age, her physician refuses to bleed her, 
and she dies on the fourth day. G. J. having 
the same disease, was not bled, because the phy- 
sician was not called until the fifth day ; and the 
disease terminated by a vomica. A lady, at- 
tacked with an inflammatory sore throat, is not 
bled, or only a very little, because the catamenia 
were present ; and she dies suffocated !" &;c. &c. 
(page 169). What facts! What logic! For 
we see every day persons, who have been very 
copiously bled, die of inflammation ; and in order 
that the quotations of Fauchier should be of any 
value, supposing his diagnosis exact, it would be 
requisite that the antiphlogistic treatment, more 
or less energetic, should be infallibly successful 
in cases of inflammation. 

In a subsequent part of his work, touching the 
indications of yellow fever, the author says, "if 
all those, who have seen yellow fever, were agreed 
concerning its course, its symptoms, its effects ; 
we might then understand its nature and decide 
upon the adoption or rejection of bloodletting/' 


&c. (page 212). That is to say, Fauchier pro- 
ceeds in the whole course of his work, a priori, 
as has been done, even to this day, by the most 
able men, who have considered therapeutics as 
a simple corollary of pathology. And what has 
been the result of it ? That, to this day, physi- 
cians remain divided upon important questions, 
such as derivation and revulsion ; questions 
which they principally endeavor to resolve, by 
the method of induction or a priori ; and that 
they scarcely agree, except on points which are 
admitted without any examination, or as estab- 
lished by long usage, which has nothing to re- 
commend it but time. 

Freteau 1 proceeds no otherwise than his pre- 
decessors ; his point of departure is the same. 
Like them, he makes the indications of bleeding, 
in each disease, to result from its general effects, 
which he thinks he has determined. An excel- 
lent method if essay-making were the object, but 
which brings us to the infancy of therapeutics : 
since it can conduct only to probabilities, and not 
to certain results. 

However, one of the first precepts of the au- 
thor is, that the movements of nature must 

1 Traite ttemenlaire sur Vemploi raisonne ft methodique des emis- 
sions sanquines, avec application des principes a chaque maladie ; 
ouvrage couronn6 par la Soctete de M6decine de Paris, le 5 
Juillet. 1814. 


be followed. But the justice of this precept, 
which physicians have transmitted from age to 
age, is in this way no better demonstrated, than 
if he had not stated it. (page 9). For if it means 
any thing, it undoubtedly is this, that if hemor- 
rhage, for example, takes place in any affection 
whatever, we must seek to renew it by the same 
channels, or to establish it artificially. But in 
order that the utility of this practice should be, 
I will not say, demonstrated, but simply proba- 
ble ; it would have been necessary to show, not 
by a few facts, but by a very considerable series, 
that patients in whom this hemorrhage occurred, 
recovered sooner, or in greater numbers, all else 
being equal, than those in whom it did not occur. 
And where is this demonstration found ? But 
suppose it admitted, we should, as I have just 
said, only have probabilities concerning the effi- 
cacy of bloodletting. For, who can affirm, 
without experience, that the effect, resulting from 
a loss of blood by the lancet or by leeches, will 
be exactly the same as that by a spontaneous 
hemorrhage ? Have not the authors, who have 
inculcated the precept under examination, them- 
selves said that a few drops of blood from the 
nose were often followed with more relief than 
copious bleedings ? 

After having combated the objections made 
to the doctrine of derivation and revulsion, we 


shall develop, says Freteau, a large body of 
rules, founded upon the most respectable au- 
thorities, and which moreover are adapted to 
reconcile all opinions, (page 19). 

The reader will be astonished, undoubtedly, 
that in the nineteenth century, authority could 
have been invoked, in a science of observation ; 
without remarking that that, which we call expe- 
rience, even now, is nothing but authority. In 
fact, to what authorities do those, most cele- 
brated for the wisdom of their precepts, refer, 
unless it be to the practice of their predeces- 
sors, the superiority of which is by no means 
proved ; and the consequent results cannot there- 
fore be considered, those of experience, properly 
so called. For true experience in medicine, as 
I have elsewhere remarked, (and as any one 
may be convinced, by what has preceded,) true 
experience in medicine can result only from the 
exact analysis of numerous facts, well ascer- 
tained, classed according to their resemblance, 
compared with care and counted. And of how 
many diseases has the treatment been thus inves- 
tigated? Let us not forget it then in future : if 
the experience, so justly scorned by Quesnay, is 
an uncertain guide in practice, it is that it pos- 
sesses nothing of true experience but the name ; 
that it is, in truth, only the common usage, not 
justified by rigorous observation ; authority, in a 


As the word experience, ill defined, has been 
an unanswerable argument for many physicians ; 
it has been the same with the word success. 
Thus, in speaking of the period at which we 
must bleed, Freteau cries, " Baillon, Riverius, 
Sydenham, &c. have imitated the example of 
Hippocrates, and obtained success ! " (page 26). 
But how has this success been demonstrated; in 
other words, how has it been proved that the 
duration and mortality of a disease have been 
less under one method of treatment than under 

Too often, it must be confessed, by the method 
of Freteau, who himself believes it possible to 
demonstrate the ill effects of excessive blood- 
letting, by such facts as the following: " Casi- 
mir Medicus relates that, bloodletting having 
been employed towards the end of an acute 
fever, an cedema of the feet supervened, which 
resisted every remedy." (page 10). One would 
say, that many authors considered facts only as 
a sort of luxury, to be used as seldom as possi- 
ble ; and when they are used, the facts, which 
seem to indicate their love of truth, really amount 
to nothing. For supposing a fact well ascer- 
tained, accompanied with all the circumstances, 
all the details which make it valuable, suppos- 
ing it to prove anything, to be a sure guide to, 
general principles ; what can be done with 
statements like those just cited ; where the au- 


thor states neither the age of the patient, the 
period at which bloodletting was employed, the 
duration of the disease, the means used in con- 
junction with bloodletting, nor the condition of 
the organs at the commencement of the disease, 
&c. &c. 

Let me not be charged with exaggeration; 
for even at the present time, particular observa- 
tions are held valuable only in proportion to their 
brevity : and it is for this quality, chiefly, that 
facts transmitted from the ancients are so much 
admired. I will add, that the bare idea of 
proving, in pathology and therapeutics, accord- 
ing to the practice at the present day, by select- 
ed observations, even when sufficiently detailed; 
that this bare idea shows that the science of 
medicine is not considered by physicians, as 
they say it is, to depend entirely upon observa- 
tion. Otherwise they would seek for truth in all 
the facts at their disposal, provided they were 
exact ; lest by omitting any, they should arrive 
at false results : as in the physical sciences, one 
is cautious in suppressing any of the data of the 
problem to be solved, being well convinced that 
such suppression would render its solution either 
impossible, or false. 

On account of the immediate communication 
of hemorrhoidal veins with those of the abdo- 
men and pelvis, the application of leeches to the 


anus and parts adjacent has important advanta- 
ges, according to our author, in embarrassment, 
or inflammation of the viscera, &c. (page 73). 
That is to say, it is the common practice : and, 
as if the mere statement of it were sufficient, 
Freteau does not trouble himself to prove its 

Most certainly the purely anatomical consid- 
erations, upon which this author relies, might 
and ought to warrant a trial of the application 
of leeches to the anus, under the circumstances 
stated: but, until decided by experience, the 
utility of the trial was problematical. We need 
then the result of experience on this subject to 
convince us, to prove clearly the utility of the 
practice in question ; but it should be that true 
experience, which I have described : that is to 
say, it should show by exact facts, rigorously 
analyzed and counted, that the diseases in ques- 
tion were cured more frequently and speedily by 
applying leeches to the anus, than by applying 
them elsewhere. Up to this point, the author's 
precepts are bare assertions, and it is because 
the precepts of the present day in therapeutics 
are chiefly made up of assertions, that theory is 
said with so much truth, to differ essentially 
from practice. 

By the same a priori considerations, the au- 
thor still further indicates the cases, in which 


leeches are preferable to venesection, (pages 94, 
96) ; so that in his estimation, presumption, 
probability, indication and demonstration, are 
synonymous terms. 

It would be idle to make any more extensive 
quotations from Freteau, in order to judge of his 
method ; and I conclude with what he has said 
concerning pleurisy. It is asked whether a pa- 
tient suffering pleurisy shall be bled from the 
arm, or from the foot ; and on which side, the 
affected, or the opposite. " Opinions," says he, 
" have been hitherto divided on this point ; but 
the voice of experience seems at last to have de- 
clared in favor of the doctrines of derivation and 
revulsion. Therefore, confirmed pleurisy de- 
mands derivative bloodletting ; that is to say, 
from the arm of the painful side. The practice 
of Triller may serve as a guide in this particular. 
In the sixth of his reported observations, he com- 
ments upon a violent pleurisy of the right side, 
which had existed with severity for three days ; 
blood was abstracted from the left arm which was 
not indicated. Triller bled the patient from the 
right arm and all went well/' (page 235). 
Then follow two other observations of the same 
kind. The author's mind is so preoccupied with 
Triller's doctrines, that he does not perceive that 
two bleedings may be more efficacious than a 
single one; and he draws a conclusion in favor 


of Triller's doctrine. But, supposing the doc- 
trine true, is a proposition in medicine to be es- 
tablished by two facts; especially when those 
facts admit of two different explanations ? The 
question as to where bloodletting should be per- 
formed in pleurisy, it is evident, can be decided 
only by the method we have before laid down. 

The course of Vieusseux 1 is like that of the 
authors we have criticised. After their example, 
he states in the first place its general effects, 
and thence deduces the indications for bleeding 
in particular cases. 

He begins his review of the diseases, in which 
he thinks bloodletting indicated, with those of 
the head ; confining himself, on this subject, to 
simple precepts ; repeating what others have 
said, as if unimportant customs, and not a science, 
were the object of his studies. 

Speaking of epilepsy, he says, " I have almost 
always used leeches at intervals," (to the anus 
undoubtedly), "and with success." (page 63). 
To this an answer readily presents itself; if you 
are sure that you have treated epilepsy more 
successfully with leeches, than without them, it 
must be, because, other things being equal, you 

1 De la saignee et de son usage dans la plupart des maladies, par 
Vieusseux, 8vo. 1805. 


have cured a greater number of epileptics with 
them, than without them. If so, you must have 
counted the cases ; and why do you not state 
the number ? It would not have made your 
book much more voluminous ; and we should 
have demonstration in place of mere assertion. 

"In croup/' says Vieusseux, "bloodletting 
should be prompt, because the affection is among 
the most rapid in its progress. The disease 
should be prevented : for, when once developed, it 
is rarely cured. " It must be prevented ! No 
doubt it is very desirable to prevent diseases ; 
but, in order to know what reliance can be placed 
on our means of prevention, it would be requi- 
site, in the first instance, that the premonitory 
symptoms should be pointed out so clearly, as to 
leave no room for doubt. And who possesses 
such a knowledge of the premonitory signs of 
croup 1 With regard to preventives in this dis- 
ease, the only proof of their efficacy would be 
that in an epidemic, all other things equal, more 
of those who employed preventives, escaped the 
malady, than of those who did not. But this can 
be decided only in an epidemic, and by the 
method so often referred to. 

In respect to the discrimination to be exercised 
in the use of bloodletting in malignant fever, the 
author says, " Those cases must be excepted, 
where an able practitioner, seizing the favorable 


moment, decides at once to bleed : although not 
indicated, according to common usage. In such 
a case the physician acts as if from inspiration ; 
and genius rises above rules/' 

Behold, then, tact, inspiration, chance, trans- 
formed into genius ! For what is inspiration, or 
tact, if it is not chance 1 What more is wanting 
to prove that Vieusseux trusts much to chance ; 
that he shows but little accuracy in appreciating 
facts ; and that he never imagined it possible to 
attain determinate results in pathology and the- 
rapeutics ! How can one, who regards medi- 
cine as a science, write on this subject as Vieus- 
seux has done ? 

Our author, as may easily be conceived, has 
not been very difficult as to particular examples ; 
and in adducing proof of this, I am embarrassed 
only as to a choice among the cases he states. 
Thus on the subject of abdominal diseases, which 
he thinks are often attended with gangrene, he 
says, " I have seen an instance of the alternate 
use of venesection and leeches in a female thirty 
years of age, who was subject to pain in the ab- 
domen, and who suffered two or three days with- 
out fever and without tenderness on pressure. 
Suddenly the pain became very violent, and was 
accompanied with fever and vomiting. She was 
bled eleven times, and meanwhile had leeches 
to the anus twice, in the course of seven or eight 


days ; she recovered rapidly, escaping suppura- 
tion, which should be avoided at any cost." 
(page 165). 

Vieusseux considers this observation neither as 
short, nor as incomplete ; he gives it as if it were 
approved. Now I will ask the reader what is 
proved by an observation, relative to an abdomi- 
nal affection, which contains no account of the 
form and volume of the abdomen, of the condi- 
tion of the discharges, of the color of the matter 
vomited, of the expression of the face, nor of the 
state of the pulse, &LC. nor of the changes which 
took place from one bleeding to another, &c. 
And this is the same author who declares, in 
his preface, that the facts remain. Unquestion- 
ably, they do remain : but for the most part to 
show how imperfectly observations have hitherto 
been made, in what contempt they have been 
held : and very little, it must be confessed, for 
the instruction of the reader. 

The work of M. Poliniere, which was crown- 
ed in 1826 by the royal society of Marseilles, is 
incontestably superior to the preceding. Par- 
ticular observations are there met with much 
less incomplete, and in greater numbers. At 
the same time, an examination of some passages 
is sufficient to convince us, that the method of 
the author is not much more rigorous than that 


of his predecessors ; like them, he lays down 
general principles with a view to deduce par- 
ticular indications and rules of practice. 

Having sketched in the first chapters the his- 
tory of bloodletting, M. Poliniere devotes the 
second to local bleeding, with a view of deciding 
upon what region leeches should be applied. 
On this subject he quotes Vitet, who was of 
opinion that they should be applied at some dis- 
tance from the seat of the affection ; (page 28) ; 
and he is astonished to hear such language from 
one who takes observation and experience as 
the basis of his opinions, while it is from obser- 
vation and clinical experience that we should be 
led to adopt a different practice. 

I do not share the astonishment expressed by 
M. Poliniere ; indeed I should have felt greatly 
surprised, if I had seen the same conclusions 
arrived at, by two men, who dignify their a priori 
precepts, with the name of experience ; for such 
experience is fallacious. 

One of them, having seen some cases, in which 
more or less speedy relief has followed the appli- 
cation of leeches near the affected part, has de- 
cided in favor of this practice: the other, having 
witnessed an opposite practice and similar suc- 
cess, is in favor of applying leeches at a distance 
from the seat of disease. But such facts prove 
nothing : unless it be, that the application of 


leeches at different points, does not prevent the 
recovery of the patients :, so that the pretended 
experience of authors is worth nothing, and after 
all their assertions and denials, we are no fur- 
ther advanced than before. How then shall 
we proceed to settle the point in dispute? Evi- 
dently, as I have often remarked in like cases, 
by collecting a large number of facts accu- 
rately stated, relative to patients affected with 
the same disease ; some of whom shall have 
had leeches applied near the affected part; 
and others who have had them at a distance 
from the seat of disease. Supposing the first to 
have recovered, all other things being equal, 
more speedily and in greater numbers than the 
second, the question will have been decided in 
favor of the application of leeches near the seat 
of disease ; cfnd vice versa. How indeed can we 
reject a conclusion thus supported by evidence? 
In entering upon the effect, which the irrita- 
tion of leech bites may be expected to produce, 
"there are many cases/' says M. Poliniere, " in 
which the sole purpose of the application of 
leeches should be to cause a more or less pro- 
longed irritation and a local fluxion. For in- 
stance, when it is our object to restore a sup- 
pressed cata menial, or hemorrhoidal discharge, 
experience teaches us that it is not to be attain- 
ed by a single application of a large number of 


leeches to the vulva or anus ; but by irritating, 
by causing a fluxion towards the external parts, 
three or four days in succession, by means of 
leech bites. The effect is thus produced grad- 
ually, &c." (page 39). 

Here again the author appeals to experience 
in support of his assertion. But the experience, 
to which he refers, is evidently tradition, cus- 
tom, common belief; it is that almost worthless 
thing, which Quesnay denounced so vehemently; 
a compound of vague recollections ; and not the 
rigorous expression of definite and closely ana- 
lyzed facts : thus this precept of a man of tal- 
ents must be considered as worthless. 

On the subject of derivation and revulsion, 
M. Poliniere readily shows, that the authors of 
these doctrines have thrown confusion, alike into 
their language and their rules in therapeutics. 
But how does he prove that derivation and re- 
vulsion are imaginary? He cites authorities; 
and among others, that of Pinel. He might as 
well have confined himself to a simple denial : 
for what is authority in medicine? 

It is evident that to make this denial, with 
a full understanding of the subject,' and to per- 
suade others, would demand the labor which I 
referred to in the case of Quesnay. 

Our author endeavors to determine the cases 
in which bleeding from the jugular vein is pre- 


ferable to that from other vessels. "Clinical 
reports/' he remarks, "may undoubtedly present 
us examples of cerebral inflammation, cured by 
the salutary influence of bleeding from the neck. 
But can we not oppose to this a still greater 
number of similar diseases, often of the most vio- 
lent character, which have yielded, as if by magic, 
to an easier method of venesection 1 In order 
to establish the superiority of bleeding from the 
jugular beyond dispute, it must be proved by 
facts, that in a severe disease where bloodletting 
in the common mode had failed, the opening of 
the jugular was followed by an unexpected res- 
toration/' (p. 83). 

Without doubt, this is indeed the real state of 
the question ; but how shall we attain the proof 
which is demanded ? Not, as the author pro- 
poses, by comparing two cases of cerebral dis- 
ease : one of which, bled from the jugular, shall 
have recovered whilst the other, bled from the 
arm, or foot, shall have died ; and maintaining 
that the result of the latter case would have been 
different, if the patient had been bled from the 
jugular. For this does not admit of proof ; since 
it may always be supposed that the resemblance 
between the cases supposed, is only apparent : 
and that the diseases were not exactly similar, 
so that the argument is of no value. On the 
other hand, let us suppose forty individuals hav- 


ing a well marked cerebral affection, of the same 
duration and severity, to have been bled from the 
arm or foot; suppose forty others, affected with 
the same disease, and under similar circumstan- 
ces, to have been bled from the jugular ; sup- 
pose thirty cases of recovery among the latter, 
and only nine or ten among the former ; the con- 
clusion is then evident, that under the given cir- 
cumstances, bleeding from the jugular is to be 
preferred. And this conclusion will be rigorous ; 
for granting the impossibility, as I have before 
said, of appreciating each case with mathematical 
exactness, the errors will be the same in the two 
classes treated in different modes ; these errors, 
then, will balance each other, and may be dis- 
regarded without sensibly affecting the result. 
Let the therapeutic question then, relative to 
bleeding, be what it may, it cannot be solved 
withbut the aid of the numerical method. 

At first sight, nothing seems more easy and 
expeditious than a method, which dispenses with 
so much useless reasoning. Unfortunately this 
is by no means the case : for, as we have already 
seen, it presumes a comparison to have been 
made between* a great number of cases of the 
same affection ; in a part of which, the disease 
shall have been left to itself, so far, at least, as 
it can be done ; in another part, certain modes 
of treatment shall have been instituted. This 


method further presumes that the same thera- 
peutic agent shall have been studied under the 
most diverse circumstances ; that it shall have 
been given in minute and in powerful doses ; at 
the onset of the disease, or at a certain period 
afterward ; alone, or in conjunction with other 
means ; in young and old subjects, &,c. &tc. And 
not only does the method demand much labor ; 
but the requisite assemblage of .facts, relative to 
any particular disease, is not made without much 
difficulty. All this, it must be confessed, has 
hitherto been imperfectly regarded by learned 
societies, who, in proposing prize questions, on 
bloodletting, for example, have expected candi- 
dates to traverse the whole circle of diseases, 
and to lay down rules for all cases. On their 
part, the candidates, partaking of the spirit of 
their cotemporaries, were not in the least em- 
barrassed ; and a single year, and sometimes 
even less, has sufficed them for the solution of 
problems, which, to be accurately solved, would 
have occupied the lives of many individuals. 
The result of this has been, that the authors of 
the prize essays, and all who have been engaged 
on the subject of bloodletting, have failed to 
settle definitively any one precept. Instead of 
aiming to make questions comprehensive, learned 
societies should have restricted the limits of the 
points to be investigated and discussed : and 


they would have done themselves more honor, 
in my opinion, if, instead of proposing as a prize 
question, "To determine, by clinical observa- 
tions, in what diseases the application of leeches 
is to be preferred to bloodletting ; and when it 
is advantageous to employ both simultaneous- 
ly :"* if, instead of questions like this, too com- 
prehensive to be solved by one man, they had 
limited their inquiry to a rigid exposition of the 
effects of bloodletting in pneumonitis, for exam- 
ple, or in any disease whatever, but in one 
alone ; for then only they would not have asked 

The comments, made on the subject of bleed- 
ing from the jugular, are applicable to the au- 
thor's remarks on bleeding from the arm, as 
compared with that from the foot : and I shall 
not dwell upon them. 

In his sixth chapter he discusses the indica- 
tions for bleeding, according to age, sex, tem- 
perament, &c. His precepts are founded on 
some facts favorable to his views; (bad logic, 
for one can thus prove any thing,) or upon the 
experience of the ancients ; and we have seen 
before what is the character of that experience, 
founded, as it is, almost always upon tradition, 

1 Questions proposees par la Societe de Medicine de Mar- 
seille, en 1825. 


without proof. Besides, if it is remembered 
that the author was obliged to notice the influ- 
ence of age in all diseases, in which bloodletting 
is practicable, it will be perceived that he has 
pursued the only course in his power. 

In the second part of his work, which is the 
most considerable, M. Poliniere makes the appli- 
cation of the principles, which he has laid down ; 
beginning with inflammation of the gastro-intes- 
tinal mucous membrane. Before coming to par- 
ticular facts, the author makes the following re- 
marks : "I could easily have adduced a host 
of facts, in support of my propositions, on the 
subject of bloodletting. In a vast hospital, like 
that at Lyons, there is no want of facts ; but 
such a mass would have encumbered my book, 
without adding to its usefulness. Being well 
persuaded, that extraordinary and rare cases 
ought not to occupy a prominent place in a 
work on practical medicine, that those of daily 
occurrence should be the object of study ; I 
have made a selection of such histories of dis- 
ease as may be considered a faithful expression, 
as a simple, clear representation of a multitude 
of analogous cases. I have therefore cited only 
three or four specimens of each disease, believ- 
ing them sufficient to show my method of pro- 
ceeding in similar cases." (page 203). 

Without doubt, a few examples are sufficient 


to exhibit the practice of M. Poliniere in similar 
cases ; but they are not enough to prove that it 
is good : and, supposing it to be good, to show 
how far it is so ; and, in truth, this is the actual 
question. Does any one ask if I would have 
desired the writer to narrate, in succession, a 
hundred cases of any one disease? Assuredly, 
I should not : but I would have desired him to 
give a strict analysis of those cases : since, pro- 
vided they were exact, he would by this analysis 
have proved something ; but, cited separately, 
they prove absolutely nothing. For, let us not 
forget, if nothing is effected, in science, unless 
every proposition is rigorously demonstrated ; 
so in therapeutics, nothing is effected, unless it 
is demonstrated, that, under certain conditions, 
a therapeutic agent produces this or that effect, 
has this or that influence on the course and ter- 
mination of a disease, under given circumstan- 
ces ; and the most able physicians have, it must 
be confessed, forgotten little else than this very 

Let those, who engage hereafter in the study 
of therapeutics, pursue an opposite course to 
that of their predecessors. Let them not think 
that they have done any thing effectual, when 
they have only displayed their own theories, or 
stated what is done by the most celebrated phy- 
sicians in such or such a case. But let them 


labor to demonstrate, rigorously, the influence 
and the degree of influence of any therapeutic 
agent, on the duration, progress, and termination 
of a particular disease. Let them not forget 
that nothing is more difficult, than to verify a 
fact of this nature ; that it can be effected only 
by means of an extensive series of observations, 
collected with exactness; instead of touching 
upon a boundless inquiry, let them limit the 
subject, that they may master it completely, and 
study it in all its aspects. Let them reflect that 
while this is the only means of being useful to 
science and to mankind, it is at the same time 
the only source of true fame to the student in 

I shall not pursue any further, the examina- 
tion of the treatise of M. Poliniere : enough has 
been already done to give an idea of his me- 
thod ; and I shall refrain from any comment 
whatever on later researches : so that no one 
may be at liberty to suppose, that in the criti- 
cisms I have made, I have had any other design 
than to discharge a duty. 




THE results attained by the foregoing inquiry will, no 
doubt, surprise many, if not most, medical men. They 
certainly do not accord with my own previous impres- 
sions in various respects. I had believed, for instance, 
that bloodletting after the third or fourth day in pneumo- 
nitis was not often useful, and that sometimes it was inju- 
rious ; but that on the first, second and third, and perhaps 
on the fourth, it both mitigated the disease and shortened 
it. It was my practice to bleed freely in the first in- 
stance ; at least more freely than was done at the hospital 
la Charite, where the observations given in the first chap- 
ter of this work were made. Accordingly, when I saw 
those observations three years ago, published, as they then 
were, separately, it appeared to me very certain that a 
more copious bleeding on the early days would have given 
different results. After reading this work, where the 
second chapter shows that very little, if any thing, more 


was gained by a copious bleeding in the first instance, my 
faith was shaken ; though I still thought some exceptions 
might be taken to the conclusions, at which M. Louis had 
(arrived. Particularly it did not appear that he had had 
many opportunities to order these bleedings in the three 
first days of the disease. But, instead of urging objections 
to his conclusions, it seemed best that I should inquire 
accurately how far the facts within my own reach would 
confirm or contradict them. On this account I deter- 
mined to examine the case-books of the Massachusetts 
General Hospital. It is the object of this appendix to 
give the results of that examination. Before giving these 
results, it may be proper to make some statements re- 
specting this hospital, and the manner in which its records 
are kept, so that it may be seen on what authority my 
facts are grounded. 

This hospital was opened in 1821 ; but it was not 
ready to receive many patients till 1824; since that time 
it has received annually about three hundred medical 
patients. 1 

From the day, on which the hospital was opened, the 
cases under the care of the physicians have been recorded 
at the bedside. After a little experience the following 
course was adopted, and has been closely adhered to. 
On the entrance of a patient, the house physician (usually 

1 The whole number, from 1824 to 1834 inclusive, is 3291, exclu- 
sive of those remaining Jan. 1, 1835. Of these 257 have died, being 
1. in 12 4-5. 


a medical pupil in his third year, and always a resident in 
the hospital), collects and writes down the history of the 
case and the actual state of the patient. The physician 
visits the hospital every morning, and examines every pa- 
tient daily. He dictates aloud the record of the day at 
the bedside of each patient, and the prescriptions, if there 
be any. All this is recorded at the moment by the house 
physician, in a first book, or journal, where the record 
goes on continuously from one patient to another. Be- 
fore the visit of the following day, the record thus made 
is transferred to a case-book, under the head of each case ; 
a process similar to that of posting from a mercantile 
journal into a leger. This case-book is carried round 
by the physician in his daily visits ; and, as he arrives at 
the bedside of each patient, he opens to his case. At 
this time there are sixty-eight case-books filled in this 
manner ; each book being a folio, thirteen inches by eight) 
and containing upwards of two hundred and fifty pages. 
The whole number of cases cannot be less than three 
thousand five hundred. It will be conceived at once that 
the records are not short. They probably are as minute 
as most records of the kind. It has been the general 
practice to inquire into the state of all the functions ; and 
to note all such as were disordered ; so that, where 
nothing is distinctly said of a function, it is to be pre- 
sumed that it was regular. It is riot true, however, that 
this practice has been undeviatingly pursued. The re- 
sults of examinations after death, where these have been 


permitted, have been recorded in the case-books, though 
not always with the precision which modern science de- 
mands. In all points, however, the records have been 
made with increasing precision from year to year. 

Among the numerous cases in this hospital, it might be 
imagined that a large number would be found of each of 
the diseases, to which M. Louis has referred ; and that 
Cases might be selected, which would compare with his. 
But it is not entirely so. Erysipelas of the face has 
shown itself at times, and on two or three occasions it has 
been a formidable disease, causing some deaths and great 
anxiety. But it has not occurred in those previously 
healthy ; with two or three exceptions it has been in those 
only, who were already patients of the house, either sur- 
gical or medical. The results of treatment cannot there- 
fore be compared with those of our author. Besides, it 
has not been a common practice among us, or certainly 
not with me, in the hospital, nor elsewhere, to take away 
blood in this disease, unless the subject was quite vigor- 
ous, or the pulse peculiarly strong and hard. I will ven- 
ture to add that the following has seemed to .me the most 
successful treatment of this disease, when seen very early ; 
viz. first, to clear the bowels by a cathartic, and, if 
specially indicated, the stomach by an emetic ; second, 
to administer the cinchona, or the excellent substitute we 
now have, the sulphate of quinine. These are given in 
as large doses as the patient will bear. From twelve to 
twenty-five grains of the sulphate in twenty^four hours 


will generally suffice. That the dose is sufficient will be 
known by a buzzing in the ears ; when this occurs, the 
dose may be diminished a little. Third, covering the 
parts much of the time with a thin linen, which is kept 
moistened with either diluted alcohol, or a solution of 
acetate of lead ; (two drachms to a pint of water) . I 
cannot say which of these lotions has proved most useful. 
If this treatment is commenced on the first appearance of 
the local disease, I think there is a very good chance that 
the disease will cease to spread, and that the diseased 
part will be covered by scales on the fifth day. My ex- 
perience, however, has been mostly in private practice, 
because my hospital patients have usually had other 
diseases which prevented the fair trial of this method of 

As this treatment has been pursued, I believe, for a cen- 
tury by some judicious practitioners, though not perhaps 
very generally adopted, I think it well to suggest it for 
future trial, hoping that the merit of it may be decided 
upon the principles of the numerical system. 

As to angina tonsillaris (Vangine gutturale, as de- 
nominated by M. Louis,) our records will not furnish any 
materials, which can be added to those of our author. 
If we except angina maligna, or the sore throat, belong^ 
ing to scarlatina, and one other affection to be mentioned 
directly, we do not often see cases of acute inflammation 
in the tonsils and palate, which are so severe, or so haz- 
ardous, as to call for bloodletting. We do indeed some- 


times apply a few leeches in such cases with a hope to 
abate the severity of the disease, but with what success I 
am not prepared to say. There is however an affection 
of the tonsils, which tends to suppuration, and which 
may usually be distinguished at an early period, though 
not at its very commencement, by two symptoms. One 
is the pecular kind of dysphagia ; the patient swallows as 
if he were lifting the morsel, or the liquid over a sore 
part, and makes a peculiar contortion of countenance on 
the side affected. If both sides be severely affected at 
once, which is very rare, he is scarcely able to swallow. 
The second symptom is a peculiarity in the speech. 
The patient speaks with some, and often with great diffi- 
culty, but is not hoarse ; the voice sounds as if there were 
an obstacle to its egress, not to its formation, such as 
would happen if he were speaking, when a large mouth- 
ful of food had arrived at the entrance of the fauces and 
was suspended there, so as to impede his utterance. 
Where these symptoms have shown themselves, I have 
known how much trouble to anticipate for the patient, 
and early in my practice I tried bleeding and other reme- 
dies to arrest the disease. But, it is many years since I 
learned that, after the two symptoms, above described, 
had occurred, my efforts were never, or almost never, 
successful. And, not having found the disease to termi- 
nate fatally, though it occasions much distress, I have 
abstained from great evacuations of any kind, as causing 
a useless reduction of the strength. 


Pneumonitis, a name which I use as equivalent to 
pleuro-pneumonia, is then the only one of the three in- 
flammatory diseases, of which our records will furnish 
cases for comparison with those referred to in the pre- 
ceding work. 

It might be supposed that in this cold and variable 
climate pneumonitis would be a very frequent disease, 
and that, in the cold seasons, no small portion of our hos- 
pital patients would be affected with it. But it is not 
so : especially it is not so among adults ; and, with rare 
exceptions, persons under eighteen are seldom admitted 
as medical patients at our hospital. I had remarked 
the rarity of the disease in private practice before our 
hospital was erected. Since that time, we have had 
very few patients with it, except in those years when 
influenza has prevailed. In those years it has occurred 
in many persons, not as a part of the epidemic disease, 
yet as an indirect consequence. Persons exposed to the 
inclemencies of the weather, and more or less engaged in 
labor, such as domestic servants particularly, have had 
pneumonitis come on, as a distinct disease, in a period of 
one to four weeks after the commencement of the influ- 
enza. In these instances, whether the first disease has, 
or has not confined the patient to the house, the second 
has commenced with distinct chills, more or less pros- 
tration, and pain on one side of the thorax, followed 
within two days by cough and bloody or rusty sputa. 

M. Louis, wishing to take only cases of pure pneu- 


monitis, has rejected those which were preceded by ca- 
tarrh. He would not therefore admit the cases, which 
I have just described. In the selections which follow, I 
have admitted such, because without them I could fur- 
nish so few as not to be worthy attention ; but I have 
stated in each instance the preceding disease, so that the 
reader may know how much value to attach to the cases. 
I have rejected all .cases, in which there was reason to 
believe that tubercles existed ; and for the most part, if 
not always, those in which there was any other want of 
soundness in the health at the access of the pneumonitis, 
except those already referred to. I presume that M. 
Louis rejected the cases in which catarrh had preceded, 
because those cases might not terminate so quickly as 
others. As, in fact, our cases have generally terminated 
at an earlier period than those in Paris, I have thought 
no objection would be made to them on that ground. I 
may remark, on this point, that I cannot attribute this 
difference to our climate, nor to the medical treatment, 
properly speaking. Nor will I decide as to the cause. 
But I suspect that the cause is, that in Paris the hospitals 
are very cold in winter, while ours is uniformly warm, 
though well ventilated. In the day the temperature of 
our wards is rarely lower than 65 Fahrenheit ; and I be- 
lieve that it is rarely lower than 50 in the most severe 
nights. When it has been very low in the night, I have 
usually discovered it by an increase of disease in several 
patients on the next day. 


The table I. contains a statement of many particu- 
lars in all the cases, which I have selected from our 
case-books, being in number thirty-four. I might have 
added more cases, but none which would not have 
been subject to some material objections, as regards the 
points under consideration, or deficient in particulars of 
essential importance. Thus, in some instances, the pre- 
vious health of the patients had shown a manifest ten- 
dency to phthisis, or the actual existence of this or some 
other important disease. Some of the cases I have 
given may not be regarded as altogether free from ob- 
jections on this score. In other instances the period of 
attack, or the symptoms at an -early period were so im- 
perfectly ascertained, that the cases would not justify 
any such inferences as we look for in the present inquiry. 
Fatal cases have been omitted entirely in the table. 







.A S S * o S 

^^SS ^=12 

o| 'tis 

^i S' J 

.-4 521 

5d fc SJ^ 

oligfe Sali 

'c. Pil. H,S 

to 9th March 
not sore. 

T= ^ ^-~ ^3 "= ~ - M 

. ^ S f^^S^^ 

CGce^i p|-?-o 

Kill 11*^ 
5 il Jjai|| 




^ f 






Tn Hospital last 

month for abscess in 
axilla ; cough then 
and since. 

_ Analy 

a s 

,t I i 



March 3 

April 28 




IT & 

H 1 <J S 

^ r^ 

i 1 

r " 

j i 


4 d a s , * i 

O g g.S^d 

o ^ C* o o "* 

^53 cS'i * o 

^.^-i O ^ 

S <u 
o t> 
tf^ s 


_G -2 

3 . _8-2 

T3 CD 


l .si |2i-i 

gl ^" ^SJ 

02 ^ 





S | o 

S I 3 


O> +g rj W . 


J3 w be _, 


O 3 













fibaS 5 1 "- 

l^. s 

gs|^| 211 

!J11J l!i 





23d to 

o Mar. 
ery day. 


. 17th 
th sore 


S S,-a 

-riii iifij 

agggco-u og3!3 


02 S 























O T3 

'S fl 



* 1= ^s -P 

" 8 r |- g,S Is.' 


Q r ^ 

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.S lo ! 


|||||P j|; 

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^> Is 


-fl s 2 

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* 5 T3 w 

Si II 

CH ^ 


f" p"a ^ ? o 



Si -S 

. The sudn re 
may ude of it. 


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;> 3 cd 


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s, s 


a^u 5s >a 


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03 O 

1 1 







O? ^ 






~ '5 

Cath'cs. Opiates. 
Pil. II. S. C. 17th to 
31st Dec. but not con- 
stantly. Mouth very 
little sore on 22d, but 
soon well again. 

Hyd. S. on 22d and 

*3 J Dec. and from 29lh 
to 1st, Jan. then mouth 
a liuli' sure. Colch'm 
24th to 29th. Cuth'cs. 

Emetic. Cath'cs. 

I'il. H. S. C. 2Cth to 
30lh Dec. when mouth 


[1111 Cu^lil 

Emet. 20th July. 

Cath's. H.S.C.aiitto 

25th July. Merc, fu- 
inis. 24th ; mouth sore 
25th; Ant. Tart. 20th, 
2-2,1 and 23d; Colchic 
23.1 to 25di ; Opiates. 













t*OHO,o t*Ol*O 


'x >" 


siill .- 

iPii ^ 






Oi CO O CO Tf J>. 

Previous health. 

Cough for more 

than a fortnight ; pro- 
bably catarrhnl. lias 

often, such as belong 
to thu critical period. 

Influenza formore 
than a week. 

Influenza began 4 

weeks before, and had 
not left him, though 
never confined by it 


I ||l 

|! ""^ 
ll Itti 








< >^ 






2 S 
















I ; 

00 OJ _ 

C3 rt 

45 S 














oT S 

1 1 

July 20, 1832 






R ^ 













^ I 3 







i 5. 






.0 S _= 





fa d 2 >S 
















a 3 ! 


K^ ^ S 




J? i *** 

-, = - 


Internal medicine 




Pil. H. S. C. J { 

31 stand Feb. 1st. C 
chicutn Feb. 'Ai UH 
also 13th to 16th. 

Colchicum w 

op. Feb. (ith. Emi 








' = = s 







TO o 






) S S 




c S 

S '< 



ef <u < - 

- ^ ti 03 qj . 


^ ~ .- - "P 


> s 


J1 fill Sj 








The days of 
disease on 
which bled. 

3 II 

is it! 

! 1 

1 1 



Slight cough, for 
two weeks. 

Some disorder in 

digestive functions 
through the winter: 
cough some days be- 
fore present attack. 



^ e'3 

Never very good. 

Subject to cough 

for some years ; 
cough last winter ; 
also painful menstru- 
ation and leucorrhoea 

Not strong before 

puberty ; getting ro 
bust for 5 years past. 



1 4 - 1 - - - - 

























1 * 



















































nor a 


W" . ~ ^ 0> ^ *J ~ 
>> J2 -S . faJD |3 2 CO -C* 
^oa^rao 2 1 ~ 1 -^ 

b ^>C +, g ^ 1^ g 

gj ^^ ^ ^^ ^^ 

o 3 K S -a 

S ^ -So 


rtCo*^ ^-5 '"'Q.^ 

II *a 

** 5- 

II ^ I 

3 .. 


o"S s 


o o^ ra fc ^-5 S S 

** ft, {3 *-T .5 o > -^ 

p||i !l ^il 

6=^ 1 p| 

g 1 ! ffifl 


1^ rf Co 




cum with 
to 30th Ma 




Oct. Anti 
23d to 29th. 

i'; Hi 

ajj fl 

111 ^ s - 

Mil li! 

Antimon. Tart, 

Feb. 9th to 19th. 


'o cs 





!l 1 


^.S b a 




Remarks on Table I. 

Before making any observations or calculations upon 
the contents of this table, some preliminary remarks must 
be offered. And, first, great care is taken at our hospital 
to fix the date, at which the disease in every case has 
begun. It is not probable that we are equally successful 
in this respect in all instances. There is no doubt that 
we are more so in acute, than in chronic diseases ; at 
least, where the patient has not been sick more than a 
week at his entrance, and where he retains the full exer- 
cise of his mental powers. Both these conditions usually 
exist in cases of pneumonitis. I do not doubt that the 
period of attack is accurately stated in almost every case 
in this table ; and I know not any reason to doubt it in 
regard to any one case. Indeed, several cases were ex- 
cluded from this table merely because the periods, at 
which they commenced, had not been well ascertained. 
As to all events, which occurred in the hospital, the dates 
may be fully relied on. 

The period of convalescence is fixed on the principles 
laid down by M. Louis. In two or three cases only the 
period of taking food was not noticed on our records ; but 
then collateral circumstances showed, when it must have 
been taken ; and I have been cautious in each of those 
instances not to fix on too early a day. In all cases, ex- 
cept the thirteenth case, which will be explained here- 
after, the febrile affection had been subsiding two or three 


days at least before that, which is mentioned as the day 
of convalescence. As these cases occurred before we 
had regarded the taking of food, as marking the period 
of convalescence, there could be no inducement to in- 
dulge the patient too early on that account. I feel as- 
sured that my colleagues, as well as myself, have always 
been cautious not to allow a premature indulgence in the 
use of food, and in these thirty-four cases there was only 
one who appeared to suffer from food on the first days, 
on which it was allowed ; and that was a patient, whose 
digestive powers were habitually feeble before the pneu- 
monitis occurred. One more remark is proper under this 
head, viz : that we have been more slow to allow solid 
food, to those who were recovering early, apparently 
from the influence of treatment, than to those in whom 
the disease had run through its natural course. Thus the 
shortest cases are the least liable to suspicion on this 

Whether any other mode of determining the period of 
convalescence might be adopted is not now the question. 
It does not seem to me that any is more fair ; but some 
further remarks and calculations in reference to this point 
will follow presently. The reader will perceive that we 
must adopt the mode which M. Louis has followed, in 
order to compare our cases with his. 

In the calculations which follow, reference will be had 
in the first instance to all the cases ; but there are three 
to which exceptions may be made. One is IX. the 


second XIII. and the third XXV. IX. entered the 
hospital on the 15th day of the disease, and was con- 
valescent on the 26th day ; XXV. entered on the 14th 
day, and was convalescent on the 24th day ; in both 
these the chance for treatment was so bad, and the dis- 
ease so slow in advancing to convalescence, that it may 
be doubted whether they ought to be included. XIII. 
on the other hand, was already in the hospital when 
pneumonitis occurred, and was convalescent on the 4th 
day. The right of this case to be admitted into this 
table may be disputed. That the reader may judge for 
himself, the case will be given in detail. Meanwhile it 
will be deducted in the calculations, as will be seen, so 
as to show the general results without it. 

The great object of M. Louis's researches is to show 
the influence of bloodletting, according to the circum- 
stances of each case, and to the extent to which it has 
been carried. This therefore will be the first point to 
which attention will be given. 

In four cases, XIII. XVI. XXL and XXII. venesection 
was first practised on the first day of the disease. In these 
cases convalescence took place on the 4th, 14th, 13th, 
and 13th days, respectively. The aggregate of these 
days is 44, and this divided by 4 gives the llth as the 
average day of convalescence in these cases. If we 
deduct XIII. for the reasons already given, we have for 
the other three cases the 13^ as the average day of 
convalescence. In these cases, except XIII. , venesection 


was performed four times in each ; in XIII. once ; giving 
an average of 3 A times if the whole be taken, or if XIII. 
be omitted, an average of four times for the rest. The 
quantity of blood abstracted was 49 ounces on an average 
for each case ; or omitting XIII. it was 61 J ounces. 

What has here been stated in detail will be given in 
the table next following, (Table II.) and the succeeding 
tables will give the results of a corresponding nature, as 
to those who were bled on other days. The heading of 
one table will answer for all. 

TABLE II. Cases in which Venesection was practised on the first 
day of the disease. 

No. of case in Ta- 
ble I. 

The number of Vene- 

k Ounces of blood 

Day of convales- 













4 cases 
deduct XIII. 



13th , 

13 4=3 




3 cases 12-^-3=4 

TABLE III. Venesection on second day. 





































9 cases 18-^9=2 



* The asterisk affixed to the numbers in this and the other similar 
tables, is to indicate that the quantity was not exactly ascertained. 



TABLE IV. Venesection on third day. 


3 cases 










6 cases 



3 & leeches 


Venesection on four 


th day. 


8-^6=l^| 113-h6=18| 


2 cases 



-Venesection onfift 



h day. 


3-i-2=l|| 40-^2=20 


TABLE VII. Venesection on sixth, eighth, ninth, fourteenth, and 
nineteenth days ; one case on each day. 

Day of Venesection 























2 & leeches 



If now we take those bled for the first time on the 1st, 
2d, and 3d days together, it will be seen that there were 
16 cases, and that the average period of convalescence 
was on the 1 1||, or in decimals 1 1 .81 day. But omitting 
case XIII. the result of the 15 cases will be that conva- 
lescence occurred on an average on the 12 or 12.33 day. 


If we take those bled for the first time on the 4th day 
or before, as M. Louis has done, the result will be that 
in the 22 cases convalescence took place on an average 
on the llii-j or 11.90 days. And again omitting XIII. 
we have as the answer the 12/ T , or 12.28 day. 

As opposed to the foregoing we may take all those bled 
for the first time after the 4th day, and we have 7 cases 
in which convalescence took place on an average on the 
16f, or 16.57 day. But, omitting cases IX. and XXV. 
we have 5 cases, viz. : those bled on the 5th, 6th, 8th, 
and 9th days, in which the average day of convalescence 
was the 13i, or 13.20. 

The whole number of those who were bled, was 29 ; 
and the average day of convalescence was 13^? or 13.03. 
Or, omitting the three exceptionable cases, for the other 
26 cases, it was the 12Jf , or 12.46 day. 

There remain 5 cases, in which bloodletting was not 
employed, except only six leeches in one of them. In 
these the period of convalescence was on the 14J, or 
14.60 day. 

We thus see that, so far as the few cases I have fur- 
nished go to decide the question, we have shortened the 
period from the commencement of pneumonitis to the 
period of convalescence, (by bleeding on the 1st day,) 
from 14.60 days to 11 days. That is, we have dimin- 
ished the period by about one quarter. If it be said that 
other remedies were employed, the answer is that other 
remedies were employed in all the cases. Next, if we 


take the least favorable view of the effects of bloodletting, 
we have diminished the period about one tenth. 

But this would not be representing the subject in a 
light sufficiently favorable to the cause of our remedy ; 
for, in truth, the cases, in which bloodletting was not 
employed, were much less severe than the others, taking 
an average on each side. So that the advantage, derived 
from bloodletting in our practice, is greater than that 
derived from the same treatment in the hands of M. Louis. 
It may be suspected that this difference is to be attributed 
to the other treatment employed by us. When all our 
statements have been made, this opinion will not appear 
very tenable. The average period for all our 34 patients 
taken together was 13^, or 13.26. This is much less 
than for the cases reported by M. Louis. For this great 
difference I think the most probable explanation is that 
our hospital is much smaller than that of la Pitie ; that 
the comfort of the patients is provided for in every respect 
better than in the larger European hospitals ; and that, 
especially, there is always preserved in our hospital a 
higher temperature than in the Paris hospitals. If there 
be exceptions to this remark among the hospitals in Paris, 
la Pitie is not one of them, unless I have been misin- 

It is very certain that our patients have an early con- 
valescence, in proportion as they enter the hospital early 
after the commencement of their disease. In regard to 
the 34 cases in table I. this will appear by comparing the 


dates in the second and third columns of that table with 
the period of convalescence. It will there appear that 
the patients entered from the 1st to the 15th day of the 
disease ; the following table will exhibit the results. 


2 entered on the 1st day of disease, average convalescence 8 day. 







:!:::: III 



. . . ! . . . 16 







As however our numbers are small we shall have a 
better and fairer view of the subject by the following 

Twenty entered on the 1st to the 4th day inclusive, 
and the average period for these was 11 days. In these 
is included XIII. a woman who was already in the hospital 
when seized with pneumonitis, and is represented there- 
fore as having entered on the first day. Excluding her 
case as doubtful, the average period of the other 19 
cases is HT|-> or nearly 12 days. 

Twelve entered from the 5th to 8th day inclusive, 
and the average period for these was 14J days. Here 
is a difference (between 12 days and 14J) of a little less 
than a fifth of the larger number. 

Two entered, one on the 14th, and one on the 15th 
day of disease, and their average period was 25 days. 

It will be seen presently that no other circumstance 


exercised so great an influence on the period of conva- 
lescence as this. So that it would seem to be of less 
importance, whether our patients were bled or not, than 
whether they entered the hospital early or late. This is 
a result, which would not probably have been antici- 
pated even by men of experience. 

I shall now examine the other circumstances in regard 
to our patients in the order of the columns in Table I. 

The following table gives the ages of the patients, 
whose cases are under our consideration, with the periods 
of convalescence ; an average of that period being given, 
where two or more were of the same age. 





Aggregate period in days. | Average period in days. 


16 years. 
























































































If now we take the sum of the aggregate days of all 
these, from 16 to 20 years of age inclusive, we find it to 
be 90, and the cases are 7 ; so that we have 90 -r- 7 = 12f ; 
and we may say, therefore, that on an average these pa- 
tients were convalescent on the 13th nearly. In like 
manner those from 21 to 30 are found to have been con- 
valescent on an average on the 13|f , or nearly the 14th 
day. But in these cases is included IX., one of the 
cases which may be deemed exceptionable. If this be 
deducted, 13|, or, we may say, the 13th was the day of 
convalescence on an average. In the remaining cases 
the patients were from 31 to 47 years of age inclusive, 
and the average day for these is 12 T V But in these 
cases XIII. and XXV. are included. If these be de- 
ducted, the average day will be 12. Thus it happens, 
that those in the last division arrived the earliest at 
convalescence, and those in the middle division the 
latest ; showing that in this small number of cases age 
had not a controlling influence. 

The number of cases here considered is so small that 
we cannot make any important inferences from them 
alone. As to the influence of age they give results, dif- 
ferent from those furnished from the more numerous 
cases of M. Louis. Perhaps an exact investigation of 
the circumstances would afford an explanation of the 
differences. As the period of the disease, at which our 
patients have entered, has been shown to have a great 
influence, I have looked to that source for an explana- 
tion. I do not find it however. It appears that those 


of the first division entered on an average on 4J day ; 
those of the second on the 4^ ; and those of the last 
in the 5. Thus in this respect, as well as in re- 
spect to age, the first division was under the most 
favorable, and the last under the least favorable cir- 

In regard to sex, 25 of the cases were males, and their 
period of convalescence was on the 13 ^ day ; 9 were 
females, and the similar period with them was the 13f . 
Thus sex does not appear to have influenced the result. 

In 18 cases the right side was affected ; in 12 the left 
side ; in the remaining 4 there was reason to suppose that 
both sides were affected. 

It will appear in 7th column of table I. that our 
patients were not, all of them, in perfect health at the 
time, when they were attacked by pneumonitis. An ex- 
amination of the table affords the following results. 

Eleven patients were in good health, or are believed 
to have been so, at the attack, and in them the day of 
convalescence was on an average the ISly- 

Fourteen patients had acute catarrh, or catarrhal cough, 
in some of them the epidemic catarrh, (influenza). In 
these the day of convalescence was on an average the 

Nine of them had other and various complaints, and 
in these the day of convalescence was on an average the 

In the first of these divisions was case IX. of 


which the duration was 26 days. In the last was case 
XXV., of which the duration was 24 days. While in 
the second was the other exceptionable case, XIII., of 
which the duration was only 4 days. If these cases be 
deducted from the several divisions, to which they belong, 
it will be found that the average duration for each, in 
their order, will be respectively 12-^y, 12f, and 12. 
The difference is so small, that we may infer, as safely as 
can be done in so small a number of cases, that the 
previous ill health in our patients was not of a kind to 
produce any important influence on the result. 

In 29 cases vesication was employed about the chest, 
and on an average twice for each patient ; the average 
period of convalescence in these was the 13th day, or a 
little later. In 5 cases vesication was not employed, and 
in them the average period of convalescence was on the 
12| day. This result seems to confirm that of M. Louis. 
But I must believe that our results may be explained 
without admitting that vesication was injurious ; and it 
might be rendered probable that it was useful. I may 
venture to say with confidence, from the universal prac- 
tice among us, that vesication was omitted in the five 
cases, because neither pain, nor dyspnoea were urgent 
symptoms. If we look under the column of Remarks at 
these five cases, we find, in respect to XIX. that the 
pain and dyspnoea at one time, and the pain at another, 
were promptly relieved by venesection ; and, in respect 
to the other cases, that they were not severe. 


The inquiries in respect to the internal remedies will 
be more complicated, than those, which relate to the pre- 
ceding columns. Some prefatory remarks will facili- 
tate these inquiries. 

It has been a common practice with us, and I believe 
in most parts of our country, to employ emetics and 
cathartics freely, as well as bloodletting, in the treatment 
of inflammatory diseases. They have been thought useful 
as modes of evacuation, and are tried by many in the 
first instance with the intention to avoid bloodletting, if 
possible. Besides, emetics, and especially antimonial 
emetics, have seemed to exercise an influence in abating 
inflammation, independent of the amount of the evacua- 
tions they have induced. This influence will probably 
be admitted by those of the present day, who employ 
antimonials for the same purpose. It will be found that 
emetics have been used in many of our cases, and cathar- 
tics in almost every one. But we have not the means 
of deciding their influence on the disease ; as other rem- 
edies have been used simultaneously, or very soon after 
them. While, therefore, I am disposed to think that 
they have often been beneficially employed ; yet as each 
case has had a chance of like benefit, or nearly so, they 
may be put out of the question in our endeavors to esti- 
mate the effects of other remedies. Further, it is more 
difficult to decide on their influence, because the other 
remedies so often act in some measure as emetics, or 
cathartics, or both. 


Opium also has been employed in almost every case, 
more or less freely, as is the usual practice in our country. 
It has been employed, in combination with other remedies, 
to restrain their operation on the stomach and bowels 
within due bounds ; and, when the quantity thus given 
has not been sufficient to prevent excessive or painful 
coughing, more opium has been given for this last pur- 
pose. The use of it may be carried too far, no doubt ; 
and we think it is so, when the tongue is rendered dry ; 
when the pulse becomes more full, swelling under the rin- 
ger ; or when it acts powerfully as a soporific, the respi- 
ration becoming heavy, and the cough being suppressed 
almost entirely. But, generally, it is thought by us to 
contribute to the comfort of the patient, without inducing 
any serious inconvenience. Usually it will be found that 
from half a grain to two grains are given in a day ; and 
especially when mercurials are employed. With colchi- 
cum, and with tartarized antimony, (tartar emetic) much 
less is usually given, and sometimes none at all. We 
cannot however attempt to show how far it has been 
beneficial, or not, upon the principles of the numerical 

The three remedies, which are to be brought into com- 
parison are mercurials, colchicum, (colchicum autum- 
nale,) and tartarized antimony. These have been sup- 
posed to be useful in inflammatory diseases generally. It 
would be inconsistent with the plan of the present work 
to state the theoretical principles, on which their use has 


been supported. The manner of exhibiting them, and 
the extent, to which they have commonly been employed, 
may now be most conveniently stated. 

First, mercury. The preparation of this article, which 
is almost exclusively employed by us in acute diseases, 
is calomel, (hydrargyri submurias.) This is denoted in 
Table I. by H. S. It often enters into the composition 
of the cathartic administered in the commencement of 
the treatment. But, when mentioned in the table, it 
may be understood that it is employed in small doses, 
from one to four grains. In these doses it is given from 
once to four times a day. But it is no longer adminis- 
tered, or only once a day in a small dose, after the mouth 
is found to be affected by it in a sensible degree. In our 
hospital it is very rarely used, by design, to such an extent 
as to induce any marked, or free salivation ; but occasion- 
ally, it must be allowed, such an effect takes place, and 
in some rare instances the salivation and soreness of mouth 
become very inconvenient. Such instances, however, are 
very rare in acute diseases. 

With us the submuriate of mercury is very rarely ad- 
ministered alone. It has sometimes been given in com- 
bination with colchicum, or alternately with colchicum, 
on the same day, some opium being added. But it is 
more commonly given in combination with opium and 
tartarized antimony. 

Such a combination is found in our pillula hydrargyri 
submuriatis composita, denoted in the table by PiL H. S. 
C. This pill is prepared as follows. 


R. Antimon. Tartar. gr. i* 

Pulv. Opii. gr. ii. 

Hydr. Submur. gr. x. 

Mucilag. G. Arab. Q.S. 

M. f. pil. No. VI. 

Of these pills from one to eight are given in a day, 
most commonly four, one at a time, in the cases of pneumo- 
nitis, in which it is prescribed. The same articles are some- 
times given in different proportions ; but then a special 
recipe is furnished, and the article does not bear the name 
above given. All this is determined by the estimate, in the 
mind of the physician, of the constitution of the patient, and 
the violence of the disease. When it is evident that the 
disease is subsiding kindly, while the mouth is not yet 
sore, the use of the mercurial is omitted. Likewise, the 
medicine is abandoned, when it is found to occasion 
peculiar inconvenience to the patient. 

Second, colchicum. Sometimes the root, sometimes 
the seeds of this article have been used by us in the 
manner and upon the principles laid down by Mr. 
Haden, of London, in his treatise on this article of the 
materia medica. That is, it is given in aid, or as a sub- 
stitute for bloodletting ; and it is given in such doses as 
to induce nausea at least, and usually vomiting and purg- 
ing ; and then continued in such doses, as can be borne 
by the patient without much inconvenience. For this 
purpose, from six to eight grains of the root, and com- 
monly three of the seeds, are given at a dose ; and at 


first a dose is given once in six hours. The operative 
effects are not seen, in many cases, till six or eight doses 
have been given. Then they are often quite violent, 
copious sweating, as well as vomiting and purging, taking 
place ; the pulse at the same time diminishing in hard- 
ness, force and frequency, and the muscular strength be- 
ing greatly prostrated. The appearance of the amend- 
ment in such cases is sometimes very striking ; equal to 
that which follows the most profuse bleeding ; while the 
permanent reduction of strength has been thought to be 
less than that from large bleedings. Sometimes the 
relief seems to ensue without such powerful, temporary 
influence. But on the other hand the sufferings of the 
patient are often great, when this medicine acts power- 
fully ; though I have never seen an instance, in which it 
seemed to increase the risk of life. In some cases, how- 
ever, the patient seems quite unable to bear the con- 
tinued use of this article for more than a single day. 
When colchicum and calomel have been used in the 
same case, it has usually been in succession ; one being 
omitted, when the other has been prescribed. 

Third, of tartarized antimony. It is useless to state 
how long antimonials have been employed in febrile and 
inflammatory diseases. The use of them, however, in 
large doses, frequently repeated, without a view to their 
operative effects, and with a design to avoid these in a 
great measure, is, I believe, comparatively of modern 
date. Such a use of them was first made known to me 


in the work of Odier, of Geneva, on practical medicine, 1 
which I read more than twenty years ago. I employed 
it, according to his doctrine, principally in typhus fever, 
when it assumed an inflammatory character. In later 
years its use has been extended among us to pneumoni- 
tis and other inflammatory diseases, in consequence of 
the recommendations of the Italian and French physi- 
cians. At our hospital we have most commonly followed 
the mode of Odier, which is the following : A solution 
of the tartarized antimony is made of such strength that 
every fluid drachm may contain a quarter of a grain of 
the mineral. A dose of this solution is given every two 
hours. At first, half a drachm or a drachm is administer- 
ed, but each succeeding dose is increased by half a drachm 
or a drachm, until nausea, vomiting, or purging is induced. 
As soon as either of these occur in an inconvenient 
degree, the dose is reduced to such a quantity as the 
patient can conveniently bear; or the medicine is sus- 
pended, till the operative effects have ceased, and then 
recommenced in a smaller dose. It will thus be per- 
ceived that the sensible effects of this medicine and of 
the colchicum are very similar, and so are the appearan- 
ces of temporary relief. These last, however, have not 
been so striking to me in the case of the antimony, as in 
that of the colchicum. There are also patients, who 
cannot bear the continuance of the antimony, without 

1 Manuel de Medecine pratique &c. par Louis Odier; a Paris- 
eta Geneve, 1811. 


very distressing effects. On the other hand some patients 
endure it with very little, if any, immediate inconvenience, 
for three to six days, in very large doses. A case will be 
given in detail, in which the patient took nearly six grains 
every two hours. Two grains every two hours may be 
taken by many patients with very little sensible effect for 
several days in succession. At last, however, some patients 
feel a horror of the article, without being able to point 
out what evils they experience from it. When not well 
diluted, (an ounce of water should be added to each 
drachm of the solution, when administered) and in one 
case when diluted, I have known it produce redness, 
soreness, and even pustules, in the fauces. The powers 
of life are much depressed under its long continued use, 
and it has been suspected of contributing to a fatal issue 
of the disease, for which it has been given. It has been 
suspected too of acting on the stomach and bowels in a 
manner analogous to that, in which it acts on the skin 
and fauces. The only case, in which I feared that it 
might have contributed to a fatal issue, is the one which 
will be given in detail. 

I will give the results, which followed the use of the 
three remedies above mentioned, as to the duration of the 
disease, taking the same criterion for the days of con- 
valescence as before, and giving the average period for 
each group. It will be borne in mind that those who 
took mercurials always used small doses of antimony as 
well as of opium at the same time ; but they are not here 


noted as taking antimony also, unless where this was 
used freely in the manner stated above. 

I. In 16 cases mercury was given, and a sore mouth 
produced ; in these the day of convalescence was on an 
average 13f, or, in decimals, 13.62. 

From these we may deduct three, viz. VI. and XV. 
who were not bled, and IX. who was bled on the 19th 
day ; and in the remaining thirteen cases, who were all 
bled as early as the 6th day, the day of convalescence 
was on an average the 12^, or, in decimals, 12.30. 

Of these sixteen cases, 12 also took colchicum to some 
extent, and in them the day of convalescence was on an 
average 13f , or, 13.75 ; omit IX., and of the remaining 
12 the days the 12J, or 12.77. 

One of these 16 cases took both colchicum and anti- 
mony in full doses, and was convalescent on the 13th 

II. In 8 cases mercury was given, but the mouth was 
not made sore. In them the day of convalescence was 
on an average the Hi, or 11.50. 

In these 8 cases is included XIII. , an exceptionable 
case. If this be deducted, we have 7 cases, in which 
the day of convalescence was on an average the 12y, 
or, 12.57. 

Of these 8 cases, 3 took colchicum also, and the day 
of convalescence was on an average the 12^, or 12.66. 

Of the same 8 cases, 2 took antimony also, and the 
day of convalescence was on an average the 15th. 



III. In 17 cases colchicum was given and in these 
the day of convalescence was on an average the 14 T 2 T , or 

In these are included IX. and XXV. ; and, if these 
be deducted, we have 15 cases, in which the day of con- 
valescence was on an average the 12f, or 12.66. 

Of these 17 there were two only, who took colchicum 
without any mercury, or any antimony. These were 
XXV., convalescent on the 24th day, one of the three 
exceptionable cases ; and XXIX., who was convalescent 
on the 10th day. 

IV. In S cases tartarized antimony was given with- 
out mercury and without colchicum ; in these the day 
of convalescence was on an average the 13|, or 13.37. 

Of these 8 cases, 2, XXVI. and XXXIV., were not 
bled. Their ages were 37 and 47, average 42. They 
entered the hospital, one on the 6th and one on the 8th 
day, of disease. In them the day of convalescence was 
on an average the 14, or 14.50. 

Of the other 6 cases among the 8, the mean age 
was 26 years. They entered the hospital from the 2d to 
the 8th day of the disease ; on an average on the 6th 
day. In these 6 cases the day of convalescence was on 
an average the 13th. 

In reviewing these cases it will be manifest that the 
difference, as to the period of convalescence, is so trifling, 
that it may be regarded as nothing, whether we employ 
mercurials with, or without colchicum, or antimony, after 


bloodletting. Of the effect of colchicum alone we have 
not the materials for forming an opinion. 

It does not, necessarily, follow that these medicines 
had not any effect, or not any good effect, in our cases. 
For myself, I am ready to say, that under the responsi- 
bility which a physician owes to his patient, I s.hould not, 
at present, feel at liberty to omit all the articles above- 
mentioned in the treatment of a case of pneumonitis. 
Yet, on the other hand, I should hold it unwise to per- 
severe in the use of them in any instance, in which they 
should occasion peculiar inconvenience, or suffering to 
the patient. 

The column in Table I. respecting the days of con- 
.valescence, has necessarily been referred to in describing 
the other columns, and needs not any separate remarks. 

The next column respects relapses. It will be seen 
that the instances of relapse were very few ; and they all 
are accounted for by obvious errors. The reality of the 
convalescence after relapse on the days marked in this 
column may be confidently relied on. 

The next, and last column but one, contains the date 
of the discharge of each patient from the hospital. It 
will be seen by the reader, who examines and compares 
with accuracy, that the period between the convalescence 
and the discharge differs very greatly in the different 
cases. Some shrewd man may hence suspect that the 
convalescence was not fairly, or exactly stated. But an 
examination of particulars would soon dissipate suspi- 


cions of this sort. Various causes influence the dis- 
charge of a patient. One pays his board at the hos- 
pital, and on that account leaves it as soon as possible. 
Another is on a free bed, or is supported without ex- 
pense to himself, and is anxious to remain as long as 
possible. The readiness with which men recover from 
acute disease, varies from constitutional differences ; also 
from habitual care in one, and habitual carelessness in 
another. Accidental diseases of various kinds attack 
some patients during convalescence. Inclemencies of 
weather often prevent the discharge of a patient for sev- 
eral days after he is ready to go away. In these, and 
probably other ways, a great difference will be occasioned 
in the period between convalescence and a discharge from 
a hospital. 

The last column, containing remarks, must occupy 
more of our attention ; and it is hoped that it will repay 
our labor. 

In the preceding work M. Louis has shown us what 
was the effect of venesection upon the particular symp- 
toms of pneumonitis. The statements, which he has 
made under this head, are very valuable. They serve to 
prove that bleeding does more than shorten the disease, 
that it also mitigates its severity. The same inquiry is 
very interesting as regards every remedy employed. 
Indeed the inquiries of reasonable physicians in all ages, 
respecting the remedies they have tried, have been, 1st, 
whether they contributed to the safety of the patient ; 


2d, whether they shortened his disease ; and, 3d, whether 
they lessened his sufferings. In the last is included a 
comparison of the inconveniences produced by the remedy 
and of the relief, which it has given, to pain, or suffering, 

I regret that I cannot answer all these inquiries fully 
and explicitly as to the cases, of which I have made an 
analysis. I cannot, because the records are not always 
sufficiently full and precise. The failure in these respects 
is found most frequently, when the patient has been obvi- 
ously better, or relieved from dangerous symptoms. The 
seasons, when pneumonitis has been most prevalent, have 
been those when the influenza has been epidemic, as has 
before been stated. In these seasons our hospital has 
usually been uncommonly full, and at the same time the 
officers and nurses have been taken off by the epidemic. 
Hence our attention to the record of cases, which are 
doing well, has been diminished, that we might be more 
exact as to those, whose cases were doubtful. In addi- 
tion to this, where different remedies are employed on 
the same day, such as venesection and vesication, it is 
not possible to distinguish between their effects. Having 
premised these remarks, I shall state what may be gath- 
ered from Table I., in reference to the change in symp- 
toms after the use of venesection ; recalling to the read- 
er's mind that blisters have followed bleeding, on the 
same day, in most instances. 

The following table exhibits the most distinct view of the 
changes in the symptoms, following venesection, which I 


have been able to obtain. The numbers in the first col- 
umn, headed cases, refer to the numbers of the cases in 
Table I. By referring to that table, the reader may sat- 
isfy himself, what other remedies were in use on the days 
on which the bleeding took place. 

Case. | 

Day of 



Pain less. 

Sputa less colored. 


1st v. s. on the 


1st day 

1st day 

1st day 1 


1st " " 
2d " " 


1st " 

1st " 


1st " " 


1st " 

1st " 

1st " 


1st " " 


1st " 

1st " 

2d " 


1st " " 


1st " 

2d " 


1st " " 


1st " 

1st " 


1st " " 


1st " 

2d " 


1st " " 


1st " 

1st " 

2d " 


2d " " 


3d " 

XX. | 

1st " " 
2d " " 




1st " 

1st " 


3d " " 


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1st " 

1st " 


2d " " 


1st " 

1st " 


2d " " 


1st " 

1st " 


1st " " 


1st " 

1st " 


1st " " 


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2d " 


1st " " 


2d " 


3d " " 


3d " 

1st " 


1st " " 


1st " 

1st " 

3d " 


2d " " 


1st " 

1st " 


1st " 


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TV $ 

1st " " 


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1st " 


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1st " 



1st " " 


2d " 

2d " 

1 In each of the last three columns the days are counted from the 
v. s. Thus in case XIII. the pulse was less frequent the 1st day 
after v. s. 


In most of the above cases the effects of the first 
venesection only are stated ; in three cases the effects of 
the second are also stated ; while in six cases those of 
the first, or two first venesections are not stated, but those 
only of the second or third. In these last six cases the 
prior bleedings had not been followed by any change in 
the pulse, pain, or sputa ; or the changes had not been 
distinctly noted, if they occurred. 

It will be remarked, by looking at the third column, 
that the cases are arranged in this table in the order of 
the days of the disease, on which the venesection was 
performed. On looking down the fourth column, it will 
be seen that, on an average, the pulse was lessened in 
frequency sooner in those who were bled early, than in 
those who were bled late. This differs from the results 
obtained by M. Louis. He will not fail to observe that, 
besides other remedies, vesication was usually made within 
twenty-four hours after the bleeding. Future observations, 
which will not be made with more fidelity by any one, 
than by M. Louis, may reconcile these discrepancies. 

In the fifth column the pain is marked, as diminishing 
on the first day after v. s. when it is noted at all. The 
explanation is that the relief of the pain is not clearly 
connected with the bleeding in our cases, unless it occurs 
on the first day ; and, generally, when said to occur on 
that day, it took place at once, or in a few hours after the 

The last column has many blanks, which might have 


been filled, if our records had been more precise. But 
in many cases the changes in the sputa are not mentioned, 
daily in our records. Considering the different periods 
at which v. s. was performed, and that in all the cases, 
except two, the sputa mended on the first or second day 
afterward, it seems that the bleeding had an influence on 
them. It may be supposed however that in the cases, 
where there are blanks in this last column, there was not 
any change in the sputa soon after the bleedings, and 
therefore no note was made. It might be so in some, but 
not in most of these cases, as I judge from examining 
the records. The results, as regards the sputa, do not 
agree, more than those respecting the pulse, with those 
of M. Louis. 

The inference, however, to which we are brought by 
this table, as well as by the observations on the same 
points in M. Louis's researches, is that the relief to some 
of the most peculiar symptoms of pneumonitis following 
bloodletting was unequivocal ; and that it was probably 
much greater than we should be induced to suppose by 
attending only to the shortening of the disease by the 
same remedy. Or, if it be said that the whole benefit is 
not to be attributed to the loss of blood, then the remark 
will hold good in respect to the remedial measures gener- 
ally. How far one or another contributed to this relief may 
be judged, in some measure, from comparisons heretofore 

I regret that our records do not enable me to state the 


effects of remedies in respect to dyspnoea. In some in- 
stances the relief of this symptom after v. s. and blisters 
is distinctly noted. In others, expressions are used, from 
which I have not any doubt that it occurred at once, or 
on the day following the use of these remedies. But as 
these expressions are not explicit, I have not ventured to 
ground any exact statements upon them. The effect 
produced on the eye and feelings of the physician by 
difficulty of breathing is such, that he would never speak 
of the patient as having a better aspect, or as appearing 
decidedly relieved, when that difficulty had not diminished. 
When these expressions are used, therefore, it is tolerably 
certain that the dyspnoea is less. 

It is a subject of regret that the physical signs of dis- 
ease in the cases, which have been under examination, 
could not be reported. This is not because they were 
not noted ; for in most of our cases they were so. It is 
because neither my colleagues, nor myself have felt so 
sure of our accuracy in distinguishing these signs, until 
within the last two or three years, that we should choose 
to place any reliance on our notes. We were learners, 
and made notes with a view to find out when we were 
right and when we were wrong. In fatal cases we com- 
pared our notes with the results. The number of cases 
in these latter years was so small, that it did not seem 
advisable to introduce our record of the physical signs 
in these only. 

I shall conclude this Appendix by stating in detail 


three cases of pneumonitis. The first is given merely ss 
a specimen of our cases ; but it was selected particularly 
on account of the erysipelas, which occurred in the pa- 
tient during convalescence. It is case XX. in Table I. 
The second is case XIII. in Table I. in which convales- 
cence took place on the 4th day of the pneumonitis. It 
was preceded by influenza, and it was for this the patient 
had entered the hospital. As this is the only case in that 
table, in which the disease seems to have been arrested, 
almost at once, by bloodletting, and as its claim to be 
admitted as pneumonitis may be questioned, I give it in 
detail. The third is a fatal case not included in Table I. 
Some remarks will follow it. 


Pneumonitis, followed by erysipelas of the face during 

N. P. S. aged 33, a farmer from New Hampshire, en- 
tered March 29th, 1832. He states that he had the 
influenza early in winter, and since that has had a slight 
cough. His present illness commenced yesterday morn- 
ing, when he had a chillness, which caused a shaking 
and chattering of his teeth, his skin being at the same 
time quite hot, accompanied by pains all over him, by 
cough, loss of appetite and nausea. He took at that 
time a dose of lobelia and red pepper, which produced 
vomiting and purging. After this he had a sense of re- 
lief as to the stomach, but his other symptoms continued. 


Now, 6 o'clock P. M. he is in bed, lying on his right 
side, face deeply colored, eyes heavy and suffused, res- 
piration hurried, without pain, has a frequent, short 
cough, attended mostly with a bloody, frothy expectora- 
tion. He complains chiefly of a universal soreness and 
tenderness over the surface, has not much pain except 
in the head, is chilly and hot by times, is disposed to 
sleep, but when roused becomes restless. Tongue coated 
and moist ; p. 100, small and feeble ; skin hot and rather 
dry ; respiration attended with a slight mucous rattle in 

Pil. Hyd. subm, comp. One to night and one in the 

March 30th, morning. His night has been uneasy, 
without any sound sleep ; his cough is not frequent, but 
occasions severe pain in right mammary region, expecto- 
ration as last evening ; p. 84, soft, but of tolerable 
strength and volume ; respiration not quick, nor full ; ex- 
piration accompanied for the most part by a slight grunt, 
and frequently by a hacking cough, without expectora- 
tion ; countenance a little flushed ; skin not hot ; con- 
siderable thirst ; tongue rather pale, with a slight, white 
irregular coat ; three or four dejections since entrance ; 
urine scanty, color not noticed. 

Mittatur sanguis ad gxx. 

Cerat Cantharid. 7 inches by '6, on right breast. 

Pil. Hyd. subm. comp. one every six hours. 

At evening hot fomentations from knees to ankles for 
an hour. 


March 31. A sense of relief followed v. s. Was 
easier during day and night ; slept, as he thinks, half the 
night, but when awake was troubled by pain in the 
chest ; was sensible of relief from the vesication. Coun- 
tenance flushed; respiration nearly as yesterday, but 
more distressed; cough frequent; expectoration rather 
more copious, less distinctly bloody, of a red, rusty 
color ; p. 120, and soft, when sitting up ; two dejec- 
tions ; a chilly turn yesterday, A. M. and again in eve- 
ning, not of long continuance. 

Repeat v. s. till relieved, if distress in respiration 
recur in evening, v. s. ad 5 xii. Let him now have the 

R. Sol. Magnes. Sulphat. siv. 1 Repeat fomen- 

April 1 . Twenty-four ounces of blood taken yester- 
day morning. Through the day more comfortable than 
on the preceding ; talked in sleep. Coughs a good deal, 
sometimes without expectoration ; expectoration four 
ounces of frothy, viscid mucus with a uniform mixture of 
blood, approaching a vermilion tint more than heretofore ; 
countenance less flushed, its expression less anxious ; p. 
116 after getting up and down twice; tongue moist, of 
good color, not much coated ; has appetite, with very 
little thirst ; three dejections. 

By stethoscope ; below right clavicle extending to 
mamary region, a crepito-mucous rale ; beneath right 

1 This quantity of the solution contains one ounce of the salt. 


scapula crepitousr ale ; lower down on back respiration 
vesicular. On percussion, flat in right infra-clavicular 
and mammary regions. On the left, in front, respiration 
loud, rough, sibilant ; natural on percussion. 

If there be increase of pain, of distress in respiration, 
or of fever, v. s. as directed yesterday. 

Cerat. Canthar. 7 6 below right scapula. 

Omit Pil. Hyd. Sub. Comp. 
R. Hyd. Subm. gr. xv. 

Pulv. Opii. gr. i. 

Antim. Tartar. gr. i. 

Muc. G. Arab. Q.S. 

M. f. pil. No. vi. Let him take one every six hours. 

April 2. Reports that he is better and has been so 
through the day and night. P. 96, soft and indistinct ; 
expectoration more copious, but of the same character ; 
tongue the same ; four dejections ; no chills, nor flushing 
of the face. 

By stethoscope ; in anterior part of right thorax muco- 
crepitous rale ; in right scapular region segophony. 

Omit pills of yesterday. Pil. hyd. sub. comp. one 
night and morning. If violent symptoms return v. s. and 
pills of yesterday. 

April 3. P. 96, fuller, harder ; skin hot, face flushed ; 
reports not so well ; day very comfortable ; a little sleep 
early in night, then restlessness ; some sleep latter part 
of night and this morning ; expectoration less bloody, but 
still crude and viscid ; lies most easily on right side, 


where he has occasionally sharp, shooting pains; two 
dejections ; some soreness of gums. 

By stethoscope ; aegophony very distinct in right scap- 
ular region. 

Omit pills. R. Pulv. Colchic, rad. gss. 

Potass, et Sodae Tartrat. Sss. 
M. Div. in Ch. No. V. 
of these powders let him take one every six hours. 

V. S. ad. sviii. vel x. 

At bed-time. Pulv. Opii. gr. i. 

April 4. P. 88. less full ; skin soft ; countenance less 
flushed ; more easy ; less groaning ; reports more com- 
fortable and has been so through day and night ; expec- 
toration as before, except two sputa of semi-opake mucus ; 
three dejections without pain. 

By stethoscope, aegophony diminished in extent. 

Powders of yesterday, one every eight hours. Same 
opiate at night as last night. 

April 5. One dejection ; p. 72, very soft ; expecto- 
ration viscid mucus, less rusty and some of it not at all 
colored ; cough more catarrhal in its character, shaking 
and distressing the head. 

Omit the powders of the 3d. 

R. Balsam. Copaibae. gtt. xx. 

Syrup. Simp. sss. M. to be taken 3 times a day. 

Opiate at night, if need. 

April 6. P. 48. Expectoration entirely without co- 
lor ; four dejections with some griping ; slept well with- 


out opiate ; now, lying on left side and breathing easily ; 
appetite very good. 

Continue balsam, &tc. 

April 7. P. as yesterday ; skin soft, moist, warm ; 
tongue cleaning ; one dejection ; blister on scapula still 
open and sore ; sleeps well without opiate ; has appetite, 
desires fresh pork and eggs. 

Let him have milk porridge. 

April 8. Milk porridge grateful and no trouble at sto- 
mach from it ; tongue never cleaner ; slept well through 
most of the afternoon and night ; p. 60 ; cough rather 
harder ; 3 or 4 sputa slightly colored ; room got cold in 
the night. 

April 9. Out of bed and dressed ; looks better ; tongue 
clean ; p. 72 ; one dejection ; head dizzy and not easy ; 
vision not quite distinct ; cough less easy by his report, 
but sounds loose. 

Omit medicine. 

April 10. Symptoms in head increased with some 
pain ; much giddiness on rising from chair, or on sudden 
motion ; slept tolerably ; felt cold in night and the same 
the night before ; soreness about angles of jaw, across 
the nose and extending towards and below left eye, with 
erythematous redness there, but little swelling ; pulse, 
tongue and skin as well ; nasal mucus dry and hard ; no 

R. Infus. Sennae Comp. sii. to be taken now and re- 
peated once in 3 hours till a free dejection. Apply to 


inflamed parts on the face compresses wet in diluted Al- 

Pil Scill. Comp. at bed time. 

April 11. P. 68, hard, full; erythema diminished on 
left side of face, extended on the right and there slight 
vesication ; expectoration easier and sputa more distinct. 

R. Sol. Antimon. Tart. si. to be taken every two hours ; 
if nausea, diminish the dose, Repeat pill at night. 

April 12. T. rather more coated ; pulse and skin well; 
erythema nearly gone from left side of nose, remains on 
right cheek, but abating ; less sore on sides of neck ; 
throat sore, but no redness, deglutition easy. The first 
dose of the solution occasioned nausea and vomiting; the 
second (sss.) was well borne, and subsequently the full 
dose was equally well borne ; five dejections small and 

Let him have the solution once in four hours, unless 
diarrhoea continue ; if so, omit it. 

For diet, bread and porridge. 

April 13. Some pain yesterday above left eye and 
temple ; p. 60 ; tongue nearly clean ; slight epistaxis two 
or three times daily; expectoration, mucus, somewhat 
opake, with one or two streaks of blood ; the source of 
this doubtful ; one dejection yesterday ; some giddiness 
when sitting up, none in bed. Very little hardness only 
remains in skin of the face. 

Solution once in six hours. 

April 14. Continues to mend ; appetite increased ; 
face nearly well ; cough continues. 


Increase food gradually. 

April 15. Altogether well ; yet is feeble, probably 
from lying in bed. 

Let him be up and dressed. 

Broth and bread. 

April 16. Up and dressed ; looks well ; expectora- 
tion small, not morbid ; no remains of erythema ; walks 
about the ward. 

Omit the solution. 

From this day he was convalescent, and on April 25th 
was discharged well. 

Entered for influenza, was convalescent, and then 
seized with pneumonitis ; from which convalescent on 
fourth day. 

Dec. 10, 1831. A. B. female, aged 36. Cook in 
hospital. Has had a cold for a fortnight, but not much 
sick until the 8th. Since then, very unwell, i. e. head- 
ache, chills, pain all over, no appetite. 

Now on the bed; pulse 84, neither full nor hard. 
Face and skin generally flushed, veins distended ; skin 
rather warm, not dry. Tongue very slightly coated, not 
moist. Eyes suffused, eyes and nose flowing. Pain in 
head, eyes, and limbs ; also at epigastrium passing to 
sides and bowels. Nausea, disgust of food. No dejec- 
tion for two days. Took last evening the following : 

1 This is case XIII. in Table I. 



R. Pulv. Ipecac et Opii. 
Hydr. Submur. aa. gr. vi. 


This morning, the following : 
R. Solut. Antimon. Tart. 3i. 

" Magnesiae Sulphat. Siii. 
M. Repeat p. r. n. 

If pain in side become urgent, venesection and vesi- 

llth. Vomited bile copiously many times, with much 
straining, but with much relief. Afterward repeated sul- 
phate and had enema ; then followed eight dejections, 
copious. No pain in chest. Pain in limbs continues ; 
not in head, but this remains dull and stupid. Tongue 
as yesterday. Pulse 72. Respiration easy. Nasal ca- 
tarrh, also some cough with expectoration of serous fluid 
and some porraceous matter. 

R. Pil. Aloes Comp. to be taken at bed time if un- 

3 P. M. Comfortable. 

12th. Day and night comfortable ; too weak to sit up ; 
soon tired by the attempt ; nearly free from pain. Cough 
not urgent. Three dejections ; did not take pill. 

13th. Up and dressed; feels better; not strong; 
bowels open. 

14th. The same; gains no strength; annoyed most 
by pain in limbs. Pediluvium at night. 
15th. Better. Reports well. 


16th. In bed; not so well. Comfortable till 4 A.M.; 
since then, pain in left shoulder and left side, quite sharp 
at first ; now not severe, except on inspiration. Pulse 
120, small and rather hard. Pain was preceded by chill. 
In the night by accident a blanket was removed from the 
bed. Took more food yesterday, but without any evil. 
Now flushed and rather warm. One dejection sufficient. 

Venesection to 12 ounces. Blister 6 inches by 4 to 
side. If not evidently relieved at bed time, take Pil. 
Hydr. Submur. comp. 

17th. Slightly faint from bleeding. Before evening 
pain much mitigated. Pulse 90, small, rather hard. 
Countenance flushed, but less so. Tongue has more 
formal white coat. Not much cough ; sputa transparent 
mucus ; some of reddish, more of yellowish color ; sore- 
ness under sternum and in left thorax ; more in acromial 
region. Wakeful in night with sense of faintness ; no 
pain nor cough ; sighs as if from feeling of faintness. No 
dejection. Blood buffed and slightly cupped. 

R. Solut. Magnesia? Sulphat. iii. now, and in five 
hours repeat if no dejection. Pill to be repeated at 
night. If recurrence of pain, vesicate. 

18th. Better through day and night. Countenance 
much improved. Feels better. Pulse sufficiently strong 
and natural ; tongue mends a little ; pain and soreness 
nearly gone. Coughs very little ; expectorates a little 
mucus, partly gray. Three dejections after one dose. 

Omit pill unless symptoms return. 


19th. Up and dressed. No pain in side ; same pain 
continues at bottom of sternum. Neither cough nor ex- 
pectoration. Appears languid ; has appetite ; tongue not 

Diet. A little bread. 

20th. Feels and looks convalescent ; has appetite. 
Increase food gradually. 

21st. Doing well. Tongue clean. No dejection. 
R. Solut. Magnesiae Sulphat. iii. 

22d. Tongue more clean. Otherwise the same ; two 

23d. Doing well ; strength returns slowly. 

24th. Gains strength. 

25th. Stronger; better. 

27th. Doing well. 

28th. Appears and reports well. Discharged well. 


PneumonitiSf entered 12th day, fatal on 20^ day. 

January 28, 1834. Connelly, laborer. Male. Mt. 
35. Large, full chest. Has had cough and dyspnoea for 
four years, for the most part without expectoration, and 
never sufficient to interrupt him in his occupation. On 
the 17th instant was engaged in shovelling mud from a 
scow into the water. This his usual employment. He 
was thus occupied for two hours, during which time the 
water was constantly splashing against him, and freezing 
upon his clothes. He was at this time in a profuse sweat, 


and immediately sailed for an hour, standing at the helm. 
During the remainder of the day was chilly, had an aug- 
mentation of cough, with pain in right side of thorax, and 
much dyspnoea. At midnight was intensely hot ; after- 
wards sweat profusely. Next day cough increased. Has 
been confined to bed since his attack ; has had chills and 
heat daily, constant pain in chest on full inspiration, espe- 
cially in right side ; also, on coughing, pain in the head. 
Frequently distressed for breath. Has not been bled, 
but has taken an emetic. The sputa were white on the 
evening of the attack, on the following day red, &tc. 

3 P. M. Pulse 128, skin warm and moist, perspiration 
on face. Pain below right mamma on full inspiration. 
Cough frequent, for the most part without expectoration. 

7 P. M. Pulse as before, full and hard. Skin ex- 
tremely hot and dry, face flushed. Scarcely any sleep 
since attack. 

Venesection p. r. n. 

Cerat Cantharid. 6 5 over seat of pain. 

R. Liq. Ant. Tart. 3i. every two hours. 

29th. Sixteen ounces of blood taken with relief of 
pain and dyspnoea, not faint, blood not buffed. Coughed 
much in night, had but little sleep ; yet he says his night 
was far better than the night previous. Sputa about 
two ounces adhesive mucus, rusty, distinctly bloody in 
some parts. Pulse 112. Tongue moist now, has been 
dry in sulcus, clean at edges, white on lobes. 

On right back crepitous rale, finer below, gradually 


becoming more coarse as you ascend, getting into mucous 
at the upper part ; occasionally bronchial respiration on the 
right back. In right breast occasional bronchial respira- 
tion, vesicular murmur and rales wanting or nearly so. 
Left back respiration noisy, vesicular. On percussion, 
flat over the whole of right back, least so at the top. 
Same as to the right breast, most flat at the lowest part. 

One dejection in evening moderate, one in night copi- 
ous, loose and of good color. Urine bright, high colored, 
without sediment. 

Continue solution of antimony, increasing each dose 
by 5i. unless nausea or vomiting, then lessen the dose, 
or if there be nausea or two dejections after a dose of less 
than 5iii. add to each dose the following : 
R. Tinct. Opii. gtt. v. 

30th. Flushed P. M., but not hot. More tranquil 
day and night. Short naps terminating in starts. Not 
much cough in night. This morning better. Pulse 1 1 2, 
rather hard, not full. Skin temperate, rather moist than 
dry. Respirations 36. Urine sufficient, high colored, 
turbid, without lateritious sediment. 

In front percussion nearly as good on the right as on 
the left breast. In right thorax, respiration substantially 
as yesterday ; bronchial sound more evident, especially 
on the back. On left back, lower half, crepitous rale, 
yet the respiration is more vesicular than on the right. 

Two dejections, small. 

Says he has no pain, but points to right breast, saying 


there is something there " smothering him," preventing 
his cough. 

Has taken 5xii. of Solution of Antimony at a dose 
without nausea. 

Apply under the scapulae, most under the right, the 
following : 

Cerat. Cantharid. 6 8. 

31st. Tranquil in the day ; slight flush on face. At 
times cool in day, more so in night : some good sleep in 
latter part of night. Countenance languid, some yellow- 
ness of skin, had the same yesterday. Cough less 
troublesome. Expectoration less viscid, more easy. 
Pulse 96, rather hard. Respirations 28. Tongue moist 
at edges, dry with scales over tip and middle. Still 
complains of right breast near mamma, more than of any 
other part. 

On right back crepitous rale, more distinct in lower 
half, not heard above scapula. Also, bronchial respi- 
ration above scapula and below, less below. In right 
breast crepitous rale with bronchial respiration. 

On percussion in front, when lying on back, more flat 
in both breasts than yesterday, especially in the right. 

Takes Sxxiii of solution at a dose. Slight nausea and 
retching after one dose. Four loose dejections ; three of 
them rather copious. 

Continue at this dose unless nausea. 

Cerat. Cantharid. 6 4 on right breast. 

Feb. 1st. Since 12 M. yesterday has vomited four or 


five times, mostly a green fluid, the last light straw co- 
lored. Otherwise, day comfortable. Restless early in 
night. Some groaning in sleep. Two dejections, 
small and loose. Coughed less. Sputa very little, if at 
all colored ; this morning without blood, getting to be 
opake, puriform. Pulse 90. Respirations 24, more 
full. Skin temperate, a little moist, especially on face ; 
sweat noticed in night. Urine a little dark, quite 
transparent and free from sediment. Tongue covered 
with scales, more continuous than yesterday : one small 
pustule on the tip, moist at sides. 

Over right back, coarse crepitous rale every where 
above scapula ; quite at apex, respiration bronchial. 
Left back, crepitous rale diminished, less extensive ; 
where there is no rale, respiration puerile, coarse ; the 
same (puerile and coarse) in left breast, except perhaps a 
sound of distant crepitous rale on expiration. In right 
breast, coarse crepitous rale : the respiration less vesi- 
cular than behind. On percussion, upper part of both 
breasts less flat than yesterday. 

Omit Antimony. 

Feb. 2d. More restless through day and night. Vom- 
ited often until night a green fluid, less than half a pint. 
Five small dejections. Cough rather lessened. Expec- 
toration not bloody, but is mixed with the fluid vomited. 
Now respirations 40, labored, irregular. Pulse 120. 
Tongue more dry on sides, otherwise as yesterday. 
Countenance fatigued ; much sweat on face. 


Says his pain is in the right breast passing down across 
the abdomen ; feels "bound " in the abdomen ; complains 
on pressure at every part of abdomen, which is full, but 
not tense, resounding on percussion at superior parts, less 
so inferiorly, i. e. the right side on which he lies. Urine 
as yesterday. On percussion, resounds sufficiently well 
in both breasts, rather less on right. Rale not materially 
altered from yesterday. On the neck, head, face and 
breast, a copious eruption of very minute pustules, prom- 
inent, size of a pin's point, with an areola round each of 
a pale red color : the whole intermediate skin is redden- 
ed : some pustules about the groin also, very few else- 

Cerat Cantharid. 9 7 over right thorax down on to 
the abdomen. 

R. Tinct. Opii. gtt. xxx. 

Aquae ss. M. to be taken immediately ; if 

rendered more comfortable by this, repeat not oftener 
than once in six hours. 

Enema now. 

Feb. 3d. Generally distressed through the day, at times 
delirious. Countenance livid ; it was thus livid at 5 P. M. 
Had one dose of the opiate in morning without relief. 
At 5 P. M. had a second dose of 40 drops. After this, 
dyspnoea increased and the opiate was omitted. This 
distress lasted until after midnight, since then has been 
getting easier. Vesication took place in night. After 
enema two dejections, the first copious, light green. 


Coughed very little. Sputa almost nothing, dried up, 
opake mucus, frothy. 

Now, pulse 120. Skin pleasantly warm, inclining to 
moisture. Complexion much more natural. Counte- 
nance less fatigued. Respiration 30, more full, less labor- 
ed ; yet, dilatation of alae nasi. Eyes very heavy. Pus- 
tules of yesterday a little flattened, the areolae increased 
in size. Teeth crusted and foul. Tongue rather less 
dry. Abdomen less full, easier ; less tender on pressure. 
No delirium. Much sweating during day and early part 
of night. 

Right breast, the rale is more coarse, rattling, mucous, 
with more or less vesicular respiration. Right back, 
respiration bronchial nearly to lower part of scapula ; be- 
low this, crepitous rale getting finer as you descend. 
Lower half of left back, crepitous rale. During visit has 
expectorated three times. Has taken but little nutriment. 
Has much thirst. 

May have barley water with sugar and lemon juice. 
ss. to i. not oftener than once an hour. 

Enema. And repeat if no dejection. 

If cough become distressing without easy expectora- 
tion, take ss. of the following every hour till relieved. 

R. Syrup Tolu. > 

> aa ss. 
Syrup Scill. J 

Muc. Acac. i. 

M. Tinct. Opii. 5i. 

If increase of distress and dyspnoea, apply poultice to 


Feb. 4th. From 4 P. M. to 4 A. M, much dyspnoea, 
and cough without expectoration, accompained with pro- 
fuse sweat some of the time. At some periods, com- 
plexion livid. Two dejections after enema not small, 
loose, of good color. Took the mixture 3 times without 
relief. Not comforted by poultice. Acid in barley water 
not grateful. Has taken a pint of barley water. Ex- 
pectoration almost nothing since 4 P. M. The effort 
produces nausea. Pulse 140, small and weak. Respi- 
rations 36, more full. Urine rather dark, perfectly clear. 
Tongue less swollen, dry, scales less thick. 

In left breast respiration is coarse though vesicular. In 
right breast muco-crepitous rale, more expansion below 
than at the upper part. On the right back respiration 
as yesterday, except that the bronchial extends some 
what downward. 

Eruption fading. Muscular strength less. Abdomen 
rather more full than yesterday ; still tender ; thinks he 
feels better there. 

Cerat Cantharid, 8 6, on right breast* 


R. Syrup Senega? 3i. to be taken every 2 or 3 hours, 
if expectoration is made more easy by it. 

Feb. 5th. Respiration 48, labored. Pulse 140, rather 
hard, not easily compressed but smaller. Skin warm, 
moist. Face more pale, and in a full sweat. Vomited a 
little yesterday. Five dejections, one of them copious. 
No relief from Syrup. It produced nausea and was 


therefore omitted. Cough frequent, not long continued. 
Very little expectoration, light colored, opake mucus, 
frothy. Tongue not dry but pasty in the middle. Has 
not had any opiate. Vesicated without obvious relief. 
Abdomen not full nor tense, little or no pain there. 
Urine as before. Prone to sleep in short naps. 
R. Tinct. Opii. 3i. 

Syrup Tolu. > 
; r < aa 1. 

Muc. Acac. ) 


Take 3ii. every two hours until three doses are taken ; 
then once every four or five hours, unless too much in- 
fluenced by the opiate. 

6 P. M. Died. 

Autopsy, Feb. 6, 1834. Fourteen hours after death. 
Externally, percussion flat over right thorax, laterally 
and posteriorly. Surface of abdomen and legs covered 
with numerous little white vesicles ; back livid, studded 
with innumerable small pustules as during life. Integu- 
ments of chest, both skin and muscles peculiarly moist ; 
a little serosity flowing from them on incision. 

Abdomen, pharynx and oesophagus natural. 

Stomach two or three times its natural volume ; intes- 
tinal surface covered with a great quantity of attached, 
though not very adhesive mucus : color generally of a 
grayish red, in some parts in dots, elsewhere more gen- 
erally diffused. Near and about cardia and in great cul 
de sac little grayish points, large as mustard seed, having 


their seat in the mucous membrane, and seem like col- 
lapsed vesicles on its internal surface, when detached : 
mucous membrane mamelonated, pale, not very marked 
about pylorus. Thickness and consistence natural. Strips 
three or four lines ; greatest at great cul de sac, five or six 
on faces, and twelve to fifteen on small curvature. Small 
intestines, volume natural, containing a pultaceous sort of 
mucus, closely attached, but not adhesive, yellow ; in 
upper two thirds mucous membrane pale ; below, red in 
some patches, but not very finely injected. Black points 
in Peyer's glands very manifest; otherwise as usual. 
Several of Brunner's glands, with black points, and en- 
larged, in the last foot or two : mucous membrane natu- 
ral in thickness and consistence, except in last foot or 
two, where it is a little thickened, and less consistent 
than natural ; strips two or three lines at most. 

Large intestine moderate size ; mucous membrane gen- 
erally pale ; but in some parts of a pale red. In the 
first foot Brunner's glands enlarged, and some looked like 
pustules of a yellowish white color, round, acuminated ; 
mucous membrane over them destroyed, letting escape at 
the orifice a yellow white mass, nearly as large as the 
head of a pin, and resembling effused lymph. Similar 
affection of a pustular form in last foot of intestine ; mu- 
cous membrane lessened in consistence in many parts. 

Liver large, of rather a pale aspect, granular ; natural 

Spleen natural in size, color, and consistence. 


Kidneys, the external coat still adheres a little, i. e. a 
thin lamina remains after attempts to detach it ; substance 
very granular to eye when this lamina is detached : con- 
sistence good. 

Thorax. Pericardium contains two or three ounces 
clear serosity. Heart distended with blood ; firm, fibri- 
nous coagula in each side ; organ natural ; valves natural. 

Right lung adherent every where, except anterior edge 
and portion of base ; adheres by recent false membranes 
easily broken ; lung large, heavy ; retained its full size 
when removed from cavity ; crepitates only at anterior 
edge of upper lobe, and in lower portion of lower lobe. 
Surface, generally, of a somewhat red hue. No polish 
upon pleura except in parts already noticed as free from 
adhesion ; upper lobe hepatized almost throughout, pass- 
ing into third stage, and at one part near apex quite 
broken, of a grayish, dark red color superiorly, becoming 
more red below; yielding pus on pressure at various 
points, especially superiorly ; granulations very distinct, 
like little white bodies, very numerous ; easily penetrated 
by finger. Lower lobe in same state, but less advanced 
and still containing some air. Mucous membrane of bron- 
chia, of a deep dark red, and having a thickened aspect. 

Left lung generally healthy : a few slight adhesions 
laterally. Pleura preserves its polish almost throughout: 
this lung lighter, smaller, paler than the right ; generally 
crepitating ; solid, in limited portion of lower lobe poste- 
riorly, near vertebral region ; thought to be hepatized in 
this portion. 



This case is published, because it is the only case in 
our records, in which pneumonitis on one side only, with- 
out any other disease, has proved fatal. In the other 
fatal cases the pneumonitis was double ; or, while one 
lung only was affected, there was also pericarditis, or 
some other disease of magnitude. The intelligent reader 
will join me in the doubt, whether the foregoing can be 
said to be a pneumonitis of one side only. 

It is true however that, while the right lung was greatly 
diseased, the left scarcely exhibited any, if any, marks of 
inflammation after death; so that the patient may be 
thought to have died of single pneumonitis. But, if our 
estimate of the physical signs during life was correct, there 
had existed inflammation of the left side also. I can hardly 
doubt our accuracy as to the physical signs, because they 
were observed separately and independently by my late 
son and myself. At the time when this case occurred I 
had reason to believe that I had at length acquired the 
art of distinguishing those signs with some exactness; 
and my son had recently returned from Paris, where he 
had studied the arts of auscultation and percussion, as it 
seemed to me, with great success. I should not have 
indulged in these remarks, were it not to support the 
pathological conclusion, which the results in our hospital 
would lead us to make, viz. that simple pneumonitis of 
one side, in adults, is very rarely, if ever, fatal among us* 


It may be noted that this patient took an extraordinary 
quantity of tartarized antimony ; for one day his dose 
was five grains and three quarters every two hours, 
making nearly seventy grains. The medicine was stop- 
ped from an apprehension of evil, though none then 
appeared ; but afterwards he had copious and very ur- 
gent vomiting. 

I well remember that we feared, at the time, that the 
medicine might have contributed to the fatal issue ; 
although, when it was administered, the case had a very 
formidable aspect, both lungs appeared to be diseased, and 
we thought the patient gained something under the use 
of it. May it be that the slighter disease in the left lung 
was removed by its influence, while that of the right lung 
resisted it? 

While the foregoing sheets have been going through 
the press, it has occurred to me that it would be satis- 
factory to many readers to know the proportion of fatal 
cases of pneumonitis in our hospital. I had neglected to 
take notes on this point while examining the case-books. 
The time would hardly permit me to go through all of 
these books. I therefore limited myself to those of the 
last four years ; beginning with December 3d, 1831, 
when a new volume commenced, and just when pneu- 
monitis began to prevail in connexion with the influenza 
of that season ; and ending with the corresponding date 


in this year, 1835. In this research I have noted all the 
cases of pneumonitis, except those which were manifestly 
secondary, such as occur in typhus, phthisis, &ic. That 
is, I have not excluded cases merely because the patients 
were manifestly tuberculous ; nor have I excluded cases, 
as I did from Table I. merely because the dates of the 
commencement, of bleeding, of convalescence, &tc. were 
not well ascertained. These considerations, the last espe- 
cially, were of no consequence in our present inquiry. 
These explanations are made to show why the number 
is so much larger than Table I. would lead the reader to 

I find then, in the period referred to, that the whole 
number of cases is fifty-one ; and among these the recov- 
eries have been forty-three, and the deaths have been 
eight. Autopsies have been made in all these cases 
except one. In no one of the cases, where autopsies have 
been made, has there been found to be a pneumonitis of 
one side only, except in that of Conelly, which is given 
above. The reader will see how much doubt there is 
whether that should be regarded as a single pneumonitis. 
In one of the fatal cases there was pericarditis, the diag- 
nosis well marked before death, and much serous pus 
found in the pericardium after death. In another the diag- 
nosis was even more satisfactory before death as to peri- 
carditis, but this was the one in which no autopsy was 
made, the friends not consenting to it. In a third there 
had been cough for ten years, and this had been worse 


for seven months before the pneumonitis ; there had also 
been signs of organic disease of the heart for a year or 
more. After death there were found emphysema of the 
lungs, and hypertrophy of the left ventricle of the heart. 

Of the cases here enumerated, all were not severe ; 
but a large proportion of them were so, as will usually 
happen in hospitals ; in several of those not fatal it was 
obvious that the lungs on both sides were diseased ; and 
in one there was undoubtedly a pericarditis, from which 
the recovery was complete. 

The inference to be drawn is, that pneumonitis, when 
single and uncomplicated, in an adult, not tuberculous, 
not having any grave disease previously, will very rarely 
prove fatal. No one will suspect, surely, that I mean to 
attribute this result to any peculiarly happy treatment in 
our hospital ; but I am aware that, under circumstances 
less favorable as respects temperature and common care, 
the result may not be so happy. 

In conclusion, many readers may ask if it is thought 
that the researches, of which this volume contains the 
results, are to be considered as leading to any positive 
conclusions. Certainly not. M. Louis has done us great 
service in stating his own accurate observations. They 
must have great weight in the minds of reflecting men. 
We have added all the observations that we have of suf- 
ficient accuracy to be compared with his, which will be 
received for what they are worth. The whole are to be 
regarded as materials, to which others are solicited to 


make additions from time to time ; that, at length, so 
many cases, impartially collected, may be brought to- 
gether, as shall justify entire confidence in the inferences 
to be made from them. Ten hospitals, under the care of 
honest physicians, may settle the questions discussed in 
this work within five years, so that our posterity will not 
for ages be able to make any material correction in the 
answers. Seasons and epidemics will vary no doubt; 
but the general laws will be found the same, and little 
else would remain for future ages than to settle the 
allowance to be made for disturbing forces. 




MT Louis, Pierre Charles Alexander 

L Researches on the effects 

of bloodletting. 

tr, by Putnam 

Bio logic aj 
& Medical